Flames engulf multiple units at Phoenix apartment - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

5 families displaced by apartment fire

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Credit: @miagarciafox10 Credit: @miagarciafox10
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Five families are homeless after a fire engulfed a north Phoenix apartment complex Thursday.

The fire was started accidentally by a new tenant moving in to the building and it's a mistake anyone could make, according to firefighters.

Authorities say some moving boxes were placed on an electric stove.  Workers turned on the utilities and as it turns out, the stove's knobs were set in an on position.  So when the power was turned on, the boxes caught fire.

"We seen the whole fire ball come out the apartment," said Scott Uhlin, Sr.,  who lost everything in the fire.  "I said to my son.. that's our apartment."

He had just moved everything he owned into the apartment when it caught fire.

"It was everywhere. It was on top of the roof, it was coming out the windows, coming out the doors," he said.

Everything was still in boxes and those boxes caught fire fast.

Thankfully, Uhlin, Sr. and his 12-year-old son weren't in the apartment when the fire started.  Neighbors rushed over to help.

"Grabbed as many fire extinguishers as we could.. entered the apartment and maybe about three feet and that was as far as we could get.. it was totally black," said John Pulvino.

Firefighters worked fast -- fighting back the flames, trying to keep the fire from spreading.  In all, two apartments near 15th Avenue and Bell Road were damaged by water, smoke or flames.

"It's very heartbreaking because I lost all my stuff," said Scott Uhlin, Jr.  "I lost my clothes, my pictures, my video games."

"We've always made it by ourselves and we'll continue to do that and that's what we have to do."

Uhlin, Sr. is a single father who raised his son for the past 12 years all by himself.

"I try to give to him everything he needs and it's just gone," he said.

It's not clear who left the stove on -- the past tenants or crews who were cleaning the apartment, but firefighters say if you move into a place and the power is off, make sure the stove is off before you turn on the utilities.



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