Family narrowly escapes Phoenix apartment fire

A family narrowly escaped their second-story apartment in Phoenix after it burst into flames early Tuesday morning.

"All the flames were over there, but they were coming across," Paul Harris said.

This is what's left of what was a family of four's home near 61st Avenue and McDowell Road. Paul Harris and his wife had just left their patio to go to bed around 1:30 a.m., when they heard strange noises.

"Small explosions, like pop, pop, and then I got up and as soon as I opened my door, I looked down the hallway and the whole room was glowing," he said.

Harris saw the flames and was quickly able to get his wife, two kids and turtle out safely. Neighbors say they heard the pops and ran to help.

"Couple of the neighbors came through and grabbed the fire extinguishers from the other units," Harris said. "They came over and tried to get it, I think we emptied like six to eight cans of fire extinguishers, but it still wasn't enough."

Harris says because of the noise, location and timing of the fire, he believes his family was targeted.

"That fire could not be started without somebody starting it," he said. "There was nothing up there for anything to catch fire."

Harris says though they didn't have time to save any of their belongings, he's thankful he was home to help his family. Harris says he was originally supposed to be at work.

"Just to think if I wasn't here and I was at work, how would it have turned out then, who would have heard it?" he asked.

Harris and his family are staying with friends. Their apartment is a total loss, but no others were damaged.

Investigators with the Phoenix Fire Department believe the cause of the fire to be accidental.