Fire destroys Gilbert home; investigators trying to find owners


by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on February 15, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 20 at 7:22 PM

Map: Near Elliot and Cooper

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GILBERT, Ariz. -- Investigators are trying to determine what sparked an early morning fire at a Gilbert home Friday.

A neighbor called to report a fire at a home near Elliot and Cooper roads shortly before 6 a.m.

The homeowners were not there when the fire started, but crews did not know that right away.

"When our first crew got here, we didn't have anybody out front," Gilbert Fire Capt. Mike Conner said. "Normally we get here, we like to have somebody out front -- a homeowner that says, 'Hey, no one is inside.' We didn't have that. All the doors were closed up. We had heavy fire coming from the front of the building. Crews entered the house under the assumption that somebody was inside."

Once inside, crews were able to determine that nobody was home.

While firefighters were able to knock down the flames within about 30 minutes, it was no easy task.

"The home was in disrepair on the inside," Conner said, explaining that there also was quite a bit of stuff in the garage and backyard. He didn't call this a hoarding situation, but said the amount of debris complicated things for his crews.

"We were slow-moving, had some dangerous conditions on the inside," he continued.

While flames gutted the home, firefighters kept them from spreading to neighboring houses.

No injuries were reported, but two dogs are missing.

Firefighters are working with the police department to track down and contact the homeowner.

The fire is under investigation.