Sun City couple escapes early morning house fire

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SUN CITY, Ariz. – An elderly Sun City couple is lucky to be alive after a huge fire tore through their home overnight.

It happened at about 12:45 a.m. Thursday in the area of 92nd Avenue and Bell Road.

The fire was so big that Sun City firefighters saw the 50-foot flames as they left the fire station, which about a mile from the scene. Crews said the fire was an intense one.

The home was destroyed. The couple got out safely and are now staying down the street with friends. Between their insurance and help from the Red Cross, the couple should be relocated and set up with some basic necessities by the end of the day.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Sun City Fire Marshal Ken Rice said this morning’s fire is a reminder to people to have both working smoke detectors and a fire escape plan.

Rice said inhaling smoke and the toxic fumes it carries is one of the biggest dangers when it comes to a house fire. It only takes a few minutes for a house to fill with that dangerous smoke, which means time is of the essence. Having an escape plan and making sure everyone in the family knows it and practices it can go a long way in saving lives, he said.

"Your path that you normally take may be blocked so you need to have a second option," Rice explained.

Most fire safety officials recommend that you plan two ways out of every room in the house, one of which might be a window. They also say you should designate a meeting place for family members away from the home.

According to the online resource FireSafety.gov, it's a good idea to diagram your escape plan and practice it once a month.

The most important thing, firefighters say, is once you are out of a burning home, do not go back inside for any reason.