Jared and I were out with friends at San Tan Mall on Saturday afternoon. We had just eaten at Kneader’s for dinner and when we came out we saw tons of smoke over near where we live. I immediately called home. We had left the kids home and Eli had some friends over. We were worried something might have happened. Thankfully it wasn’t our house!!!
Unfortunately, the brand new apartments near us on Gilbert and Warner weren’t as lucky. They were still under construction and in the wood framing stage so one right after the other caught fire very quickly!! In fact 7 buildings were destroyed.
The following pictures were posted by different friends on Facebook…
There were at least 2 explosions which resulted in very intense heat and flames. The winds that day were high which made it hard for the firefighters to contain it. Three different fire departments came to help battle this 5 alarm fire. It was stated that this was the biggest fire Gilbert has ever had!!!
The above image was taken outside the front door of one of the members in our Ward. The fire grew so much that the families in the neighborhood and the apartments down the street were evacuated. The winds picked up and the heat was so intense that the homes directly behind the fire were damaged. One family in our ward said their fence caught fire from the heat. The stucco on the house melted off the house. Their backyard was burned up. Their truck windows blew out and the paint bubbled up. This was no joke!!
Crews fought well into the night. Thankfully only one firefighter had some burns to his hands and a few others were treated for smoke inhalation. No one else was hurt or injured. A few homes like our friend’s I mentioned earlier had damage, the club house to the other apartments down the street caught fire, and some of the outlying garage/storage buildings suffered as well.
Most everyone was able to return to their homes late that night or early the next morning.
This is what it looks like now.
Walker’s bus stop is right across the street from here. I drive by there everyday! They were going up FAST. Most of the buildings were already getting insulation wraps, windows were in place, and a lot of the landscaping had been planted. It’s amazing how destructive fire is. This will probably set the builders back a couple of years. They will need to get everything cleaned up, insurance dealt with, and begin the rebuilding process.
I’m not excited about these apartments being built but it’s sad to me to see such destruction. I’m very thankful that no one lost their lives that day!