Structure fire destroys home, threatens others in Littlefield

ST. GEORGE — A structure fire in Littlefield, Arizona, ripped through a home and burned it to the ground on Monday, while two other homes – less than 20 feet away – were saved when crews created a barrier to reduce the radiant heat that was so hot it caught the siding of another home on fire.

Beaver Dam Littlefield Fire District responds to a structure fire on East Rio Virgin Road in Littlefield, Ariz., April 13, 2021 | Submitted photo, St. George News

Shortly after 6 p.m. MST on Monday, Beaver Dam Littlefield Fire and Rescue responded to a structure fire reported in the 3800 block of East Rio Virgin Road in Littlefield, Arizona, involving a modular home that caught fire. The blaze was reportedly spreading quickly, fueled by a significant amount of combustible materials within the residence that was fully involved when fire crews arrived to fight the blaze, said Chief Jeff Hunt with the Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire District.

The home was in between two other residences, a mobile home on one side and a wooden-framed home on the other, Hunt said, and as crews tackled the blaze burning through the modular home, a team began spraying down the structures on either side.

With the vast amount of combustible fuels available the fire spread quickly, Hunt said. So at that point, they concentrated their efforts on saving the home that was located less than 20 feet away as well as the mobile home on the other side. The fire had already progressed to the point it was “super volatile,” he said, so the structure could not be saved and crews had to allow it to consume itself. The home and all of its contents were destroyed and the structure burned to the ground, he said.

The homeowner told Hunt he heard “a loud explosion or a boom,” and then he saw the flames, but crews were unable to determine the source of the noise and the cause of the blaze is still undetermined, Hunt said.

Hunt also said the heat emitted by the blaze was so significant that it started to melt the siding on the adjacent home and reached a point where it ignited flames that started to burn through the siding.

Crews also arrived from Mesquite Fire and Rescue to assist in fighting the blaze.

Thick black smoke can be seen billowing from a structure fire on East Rio Virgin Road in Littlefield, Ariz., April 13, 2021 | Submitted photo, St. George News

Crews extinguished the active flames quickly and then created a “water curtain” Hunt said, which is a maneuver that creates a broken stream of water in between the homes that creates a barrier and reduces the level of radiant heat hitting the structure they were trying to save.

Regarding the residence located next door to the modular home, Hunt said “Fire never touched that house,” he said. “It just became so hot that it combusted.”

After more than an hour, the modular home burned itself out as crews remained on scene knocking down embers and putting out hot spots to reduce the risk of smoldering and reigniting at a later time.

Beaver Dam Littlefield Fire District responded with an engine and two water tenders, one with a 2,500 gallon tank and the other that held 3,500 gallons of water. All water needed for the fire had to be brought to the scene, Hunt said, as there are only privately-owned fire hydrants in Littlefield, so they alternate between the water tenders to make sure one is being filled while the other is being used so they have a continuous supply of water on hand.

Five hours before the structure fire was reported, Beaver Dam responded to a brush fire that broke out off of Interstate 15 near mile marker 19 in the Virgin River Gorge that was contained before it was able to spread any further than a quarter-acre by the time it was extinguished. Crews remained at the scene to put out any hot spots and then cleared within the hour.

It was a busy day with the brush fire and then the house fire,” Hunt said. “It was really busy there for a while.”

Beaver Dam Littlefield Fire District and Mesquite Fire and Rescue responded and tended to the scene. No injuries were reported.

This report is based on statements from police, emergency personnel or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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