Several structures catch fire in central Phoenix, 2 residents hospitalized

Several structures caught fire near 16th Street and McDowell Road in Phoenix on Tuesday afternoon, sending 2 people to the hospital.

Once the fire was under control, Phoenix Fire Capt. Joe Huggins was able to provide more information and said crews initially responded to reports of a fire in an alleyway around 4:30 p.m.

Because of the windy weather, he says embers caused the fire to move to other structures and brush in the area. A few residents were seen on top of their homes, hosing down the perimeters to stop the fire from spreading.

At the height of the firefight, Huggins said more than 50 units were on the scene, including more than 150 firefighters.

At least 2 people were taken to the hospital for possible burn injuries, but are doing OK.

"A total of two houses and two sheds received extensive damage as a result of this fire," Huggins said.

About 21 people are estimated to be displaced because of the fire and a crisis response team is helping.

As for other residents in the area, power was out for about 1,750 APS customers, but it's slowly returning.

'It was crazy'

"The fire happened in our backyard, it was the neighbor's behind us backyard," said Brian Corley.

It was a scary sight for Corley who says everything he owns is inside his home.

"I was laying on the couch and I looked at the window, and it went black, yellow, black and I just stepped outside in curiosity and all the palm trees were just (on fire) one by one by one, and then everything. All I could do is grab some dirty clothes and grab my lunch box and throw it in the truck," he said.

He said flames began spreading, and fast.

"By the time I got to my truck, it was 30-foot flames getting pushed straight into our yard. It was crazy," Corley said.

He says he's hoping his dog is alright.

"I'm just hoping my dog is OK because it was in the other part of the house I couldn't get to and I'm hoping that, you know, this could all get fixed. Nobody died or lost too much of their property. Hope for the best really," he said.

The day after

The palm trees in the neighborhood are just burnt sticks now.

"Watching the trees go up. By the time it got two or three trees in, it just combusted. It just blew up," Troy Reed said.

He thought it was a dust storm at first, then sprinted to get his family.

"Actually my granddaughter and daughter thought it was a dust storm as well … no the house is on fire. What do you mean the house is on fire? You see me trying to put my clothes on … let’s get out of here, the house is on fire," Reed recalled.

His car, his tools, his life. All burned.

Also next to the flames was Sam Bergstrom's nursery.

"All of a sudden, boom," he said. He says he lost nearly $100,000 in plants.

"They were a part of my life … gone," Bergstrom said. 

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Photo from the Phoenix Fire Department

Map showing the area of the fire: