PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Fire tore through an abandoned house and the flames extended to the triplex next door. Several people ran out of their homes and knocked on doors, alerting neighbors of the dangerous flames.
More than two dozen firefighters were at the scene, battling triple-digit heat along with the intense fire near 7th Street and Thomas Road.
The fire sparked in the backyard of the home, which is empty. Witnesses told FOX 10 the wind blew the embers toward the triplex, the embers got into the roof through the air conditioning unit and set the attic on fire.
At the height of the fire, a thick, bright red wall of flame shot high into the air. It started in the back of the home, which neighbors say had sat empty for the past couple of months.
"It leaped over, got sucked into the whirly gig.. got sucked into the attic and caught the attic on fire," said Steve Maxwell, a displaced resident.
All three units in this condominium complex were occupied, but everyone was able to get out safely.
"I started hearing a commotion and popping. I came outside, opened my door and a huge cloud of smoke, so yeah, it was pandemonium," said Marisa Franco.
The front unit of the triplex suffered the most damage.
Around 30 firefighters were called to battle the flames. Since the temperatures rose above 100 degrees, extra help was called in to relieve the initial units on scene. As to the cause of the fire, one neighbor speculates it could've been caused by a squatter.
"There was a crazy person living in the backyard.. I could hear him screaming at himself saying, 'Don, you're a loser, Don you're a loser and I look over the wall and it's just him," said Maxwell.