Residents evacuated after fire near Payson


by Ryan O'Donnell

Bio | Email | Follow: @3TVODonnell

Posted on June 30, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Updated Sunday, Jun 30 at 5:11 PM

Map: Rye, Ariz.

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RYE, Ariz. -- Flames lit up the dark sky 10 miles south of Payson in the quiet town of Rye.

Witnesses say the fire started near the back of the business called All Bikes.

“A friend of mine called me and and said All Bikes is on fire, so I hustled down here and I've stayed down here since about 2 o'clock this morning,” said Tom Connolly, who owns the property which is a two acre lot full of bicycles, motorcycles and classic cars that sits next to the Bee-Line Highway.

“It was quite a sight, lots of explosions, a lot of fire crews, they did a good job, well organized and this is what we end up with,” said Connolly.

The fire burned out of control for hours, invading two mobile home parks that sandwich the salvage yard.

Both communities had to be evacuated.

“There were some little children involved, everybody is safe, that's the good news and a lot of the pets are now at the humane society and they're safe, but it's still devastating to lose your home and just to go through something like this is really tough,” said Trudy Thompson-Rice with the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter.

The Red Cross opened an emergency shelter at Payson High School for the 20 to 30 people evacuated.

“Those folks needed a place to sleep a place to get some water and get some support,” said Thompson-Rice.

Several mobile homes have either been destroyed or damaged because of this fire. Officials are still trying to figure out how it started.