Firefighters forced to watch Buckeye home burn waiting for APS

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Buckeye house fire By Jennifer Thomas Buckeye house fire By Jennifer Thomas

BUCKEYE, Ariz. -- If your house was swallowed by fire, you'd probably count on firefighters to be there battling the blaze within minutes of your call. But what if they got there and watched?

"Oh, I would be devastated," Esther Ross said. "I'd be like ... I'd be pissed!"

Ross lives next door to the Buckeye home overcome by fire from high winds and live wires during Wednesday night's storm.

"Basically, all these firemen were sitting watching this house burn, and I didn't know it worked like that," she said. 

It normally doesn't work like that, but Wednesday, it did. Firefighters spent four and a half hours watching the scene and rolling out hoses, waiting for APS to come cut the power. Buckeye Valley Fire says the threat of water near the power line was something they couldn't risk.

"It's in the nature of firefighters and personnel in emergency services to want to save what they can, but to have to stand back and know that you can't do anything because of the situation on the ground is extremely frustrating," said Karen Alexander, spokeswoman for Buckeye Valley Fire District.

Then just before 10 p.m., utility crews arrived to shut down the line. Minutes later, the fire was out.

If APS had reached the home sooner, could that have saved more of the property? At this point, APS is only saying it's reviewing its response to the fire.

Ross wants answers.

"I want to know who they were talking to," she said. "Was there somebody they sent out and he didn't come or what was the situation to why it took so long?"

Ross knows the storms kept APS busy across the Valley, but she hoped a burning home would be a higher priority.

"It wasn't like we're saying, 'Hey, turn our power back on,' we're trying to put out a darn fire," Ross said of APS. "They need to get their act together."

The company said it will look into its response on Wednesday night.