Family loses home and cat after welding accident sparks fire

- A welding accident sparked a massive fire at a home near 48th Avenue and Thomas on Tuesday and the flames quickly spread.

The family who lived in the home is devastated. Their house and pet cat are both gone.

The smoke from that fire could be seen across the valley.  In fact, some members of the family were having a picnic on South Mountain. They spotted the column of smoke, not knowing they were actually watching their own home burn.

"Upset and devastated.. shocking.. you always hear that this happens to people, but it never happens to you and it did," said Melissa Verschage.

It has been an emotionally draining day for Verschage and her family as they pick through what's left of their belongings.

"It's hard to believe.. and everything is gone in an instant.. there is no rewind, there's no hold on, let it stop for a second, let me get my things out.. they're gone," she said.

Phoenix Fire Department officials say someone was in the backyard welding when there was an explosion.

"It just got in the attic and it went -- it just took over," said Verschage.

Luckily, most of the family was not at home when the fire broke out. Verschage says she got a call at work from a neighbor.

"I just grabbed my purse and headed home. It was the longest ride ever."

As they shift through what's left, the family is just glad everyone is okay.

"Just be grateful for what you have when you have it.. because family is the most important thing," said Verschage.

The family says most of their belongings were lost in the fire.

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