PHOENIX – A house fire that apparently started with oleanders burning in a Phoenix alley has displaced three roommates.
The Phoenix Fire Department responded to an alley fire near Campbell and Third avenues at about 1:20 p.m. Tuesday.
Capt. Ruben Saavedra said firefighters discovered the fire had spread from the oleanders to a detached shed and a home.
The house had a shake-shingle wood roof, which Saavedra said fed the fire and made it a little challenging for firefighters.
"They have air in between them and it's a perfect area for fire to travel," he said. "It's old wood, it's all combustible and it's just a perfect fire storm."
Crews from five or six trucks attacked the fire from different angles and gained the upper hand in about 20 minutes. Saavedra said the roof of the house was destroyed. Crews prevented the fire from doing too much damage to the neighboring home, but there was some charring to the eaves.
The residents weren't home when the fire started. One of them arrived while firefighters were on the scene.
"I walked up and I thought that's either the house next to my house or our house and it was [ours]," Mark Susan said.
One of Susan's roommates has three cats. Firefighters rescued one of them, but the other two have not been found.
Phoenix Fire Crisis response teams are assisting the displaced roommates.
No firefighters were injured.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.