FD: No one inside Mesa home destroyed in fire

An overnight house fire at a home on a county island near McDowell Road and the 202 Red Mountain Freeway left firefighters and neighbors on alert.

The man who lived there was nowhere to be seen, and crews had to wait nearly 8 hours before getting the all-clear.

"It was midnight, my neighbors knocked on the door, I threw on a bathrobe and ran out," said Kim Rowley.

At first Rowley thought it was her own home burning, the fire was that intense. She snapped cell phone photos of the house two doors down, the one actually engulfed in flames.

"I was bam, bam, bam, and just kind of the whole time when the flame was going, then you heard the fire guys in there knocking things down," said Rowley.

Crews from Rural Metro Fire and the Mesa Fire Department responded to the scene. The blaze moved so quickly the roof collapsed, as a result. SkyFox video captured the devastation afterward. Several people reported hearing explosions.

"It was raging big time, I mean I thought maybe an airplane crashed or something with fuel on board because it was raging," said a neighbor.

"I ran back in for my phone, got my son and husband, they got up, and they were knocking and nobody answered, no reaction," said Denise Gonzales.

The man who lived at the home was unaccounted for after an initial search. Crews had to pull out because the fire was so dangerous.

"I couldn't sleep all night," said Gonzales.

"This is called a secondary search on a potentially occupied structure, we go in there, and we are very extensive about our search," said Chuck Fitzgerald, a Batallion Chief with Rural Metro. 

More than 9 hours later an all clear was given, no one was inside the home when it burned. People who live nearby are relieved to hear the news.

"I just feel bad when he gets back here and sees his house," said Rowley.

Rural Metro says it is up to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to locate the resident.

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