Fire destroys Peoria home

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PEORIA -- A Peoria family returned from a weekend camping trip to find their home in ruins.

Intense flames destroyed the home near 83rd Avenue and Cactus Road Sunday night. It started at about 7:30 p.m.

Investigators will be on the scene today to try and determine what actually sparked the fire.

Neighbors said they heard explosions, believed to have been aeresol cans and propane bottles that were stored in the garage, which is where the fire started.

"The fire crews said it sounded like ammunition going off," said Mike Tellef of the Phoenix Fire Department.

The fire was an intense one, with the garage fully involved by the time crews arrived on the scene. More firefighters, including crews from Phoenix, Glendale, Surprise and Sun City, had to be called in as the fire spread into the attic and the rest of the home.

The roof caved in, making a very dangerous situation for firefighters.

"The air conditioning unit fell in, as well," Tellef said.

The flames were so big, neighbors were concerned that the fire would spread. Some neighbors hosed down their homes as a precaution. Fire crews were able to keep the fire from spreading.

Firefighters were able to locate the family in eastern Arizona and let them know what happened.

The homeowner, Pinky Eschenbaucher, was concerned about her pets when she first heard about the fire. Her two dogs were inside the home when the fire started. Both were rescued, but one is in bad shape and on oxygen. A pet parrot did not survive.

Eschenbaucher and her adult son, who is autistic and has cerebral palsy, are staying with family.

When asked if she needed any help getting back on her feet, Eschenbacher said she has a great support system of family and friends, but if anyone would like to help out, she requested that donations be sent to Camp Civitan, a group that has greatly helped her son.