MARICOPA, Ariz. -- Tara Nicole Mitchell-Quinta spent Friday afternoon sifting through ashes of what used to be her home.
Around 7 Friday morning, a fire broke out in Mitchell-Quinta’s trailer just south of Maricopa.
“I was asleep,” she said. “I couldn’t smell the smoke or anything.”
Mitchell-Quinta describes herself as a very deep sleeper, which she attributes to medication she takes for fibromyalgia. She usually needs someone to rouse her.
The only other person at home at the time of the fire was Mitchell-Quinta’s 3-year-old son Clay.
“My mom was at the back. I saw the fires,” Clay said.
Clay ran to his mother and woke her up.
“I tried to go out the back door and I saw the black smoke coming from the back room,” Mitchell-Quinta said. “If he wouldn’t have come to get me, I probably wouldn’t have woken up.”
A call came in to the Pinal County Sheriff’s dispatch just after 7:00 a.m. By the time crews from the Gila River Fire Department arrived, the home was a total loss.
Two cats died in the fire. One cat survived, but had severely scorched fur.Nicole-Mitchell found next to nothing as she sorted through the wreckage. She did manage to save a family photograph that was untouched by the flames.
Despite the loss, the family remains optimistic, and thankful everyone made it out alive. Mitchell-Quinta credits her son with saving her life.
“He is my hero,” she said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The Red Cross is assisting the family with food and shelter.