Maricopa County, Arizona – Firefighters were dispatched to a very large apartment complex under construction around 1906 hours MST this evening, located in the 100-200 (multiple sources reporting different block #s} block of East Civic Center in Gilbert, Arizona. It was dispatched as a 1st Alarm with limited resources responding to the scene.
The initial report called into Dispatch by Battalion Chief 252 as the Incident Commander [IC] reported a “working apartment fire with multiple exposures”.
As you can see, this is a densely populated area.
Photo of the apartment complex fully engulfed in flames. Photo Credit: Gilbert Fire Rescue.
ALARM LEVELS QUICKLY ESCALATE
1st/2nd Alarms: Around 1910 Hours MST, BC252/Acting IC reported “heavy fire from a 2-story apartments under construction with several exposures. An immediate 2nd Alarm was requested.
Media Relations meeting at 85 E Civic Center Drive in parking lot on the south side.
3rd Alarm: At 1929 Hours MST, BC252/IC reported still heavy fire from the 2-story apartment complex with master streams operating.
Defensive fire. A 3rd Alarm is requested.
4th Alarm: At 2002 Hours MST, BC252/IC requested a 4th Alarm was requested as in continuous defensive active firefighting mode. Master streams still operating.
Citizens needs to avoid the area. Extremely heavy traffic.
5th Alarm: Later in the evening around 2019 Hours MST, BC252/IC requested a 5-alarm due to a high concern for fire affecting exposure nearby buildings.
Gilbert Fire when things were just a little heated. Photo Credit: Gilbert Fire
Flying embers were reported as affecting the complex’s clubhouse which firefighters were able to contain very quickly. They were still fighting the fire defensively.
Road closed from Warner Rd from Gilbert to Lindsay due to the fire.
Evacuations from Civic Center Drive to Nunneley to Devon have been evacuated.
HUGE PRESENCE DISPATCHED
According to the Phoenix Public Safety CAD showing fire units dispatched beginning at 1906 Hours MST and progressing as more alarm levels began increasing up to a 5th Alarm.,
Remembering a former Chapter in our Lives:
When we were once on a small house fire (in our Firefighter REHAB days) where residential and commercial structures were so close to one another. A Citizen perplexed that so many Fire trucks, Ladders and other resources showed up for such a small house fire. He thought that the City was wasting too much of the taxpayer’s dollars.
We explained that you WANT that many to show up so they put the fire out quickly and limit the damage to your home. Also, they are very pro-active in saving lives.
The Citizen responded to our answer very quickly and agreed that he, too would prefer to see more fire personnel showing up to his home to get the flames out and minimize the amount of damage, while working to save his family. – Lisa Swenson, formerly with The Seattle Fire Buff Society, a firefighter rehab non-profit organization.
Mutual aid poured into the area, outside of Gilbert. Here are some of the Mutual Aid companies that responded as the level of alarms increased into the evening.
Apache Junction: RH [Rehab?]263.
Chandler Fire: Battalions 281, 282. Engines 281, 285, 286, 287, 288. Ladder 288.
Gilbert Fire and Medical: Battalions 251 (Command), 252, Engines 251, 252, 254, 256, 257, 258. Reserve Engines: 2510, 2511. Ladders 253, 255. Misc: U251.
Mesa Fire: Battalion Chief 203. Engines 201, 202, 204, 205. Ladders 204, 206, 214, 273. SS208. EV201. EDC.
Phoenix: Ladder 43.
Queen Creek: Engine 411.
Sunlakes Fire and Rescue.
Superstition Springs Fire and Rescue: REHAB support unit/rehydration services.
Treating Fire and Police members in rear of Superstition Springs Fire and Rescue own support unit. Photo Credit: Gilbert Fire and Rescue
Tempe Fire: Engine 274. Ladder 274.
Over 40+ Fire trucks were on scene along with 120 or more firefighters fighting the fire.
The fire’s fury grew so intensely and endangering so many exposure buildings, evacuations of nearby neighbors were assisted by Evacuation Center volunteers to the Gilbert Public Safety Amphitheater. Residents are still sheltering-in-place at the City’s building located at 75 Civic Center Drive in Gilbert, Arizona.
While evacuations were in progress, Firefighters worked tirelessly to provide structure protection of all exposure buildings. The only exposure that was damaged was the apartment complex’s clubhouse caught on fire due to flying embers from the increased winds. Firefighters were able to contain and extinguish the fire before it destroyed the complete structure.
Gilbert Fire’s Deputy Chief / PIO Mike Connor briefed all evacuees at the shelter giving them an update.
Gilbert Fire Rescue DC / PIO Mike Connor. Photo Credit: Gilbert Fire
Warner and Gilbert may be closed into the night as they are affected by the fire. Firefighters are still working to tap the fire.
At around 0000, Warner and Gilbert have been reopened. Remember, that Firefighters and others may be still working on the scene, so please drive slowly through the area.
All Media outlets are meeting with Gilbert Fire Rescue’s Deputy Chief / PIO Mike Connor at the Banner Health Center parking lot at 155 E. Warner Road.
One of those representing the Gilbert Fire Rescue using Periscope was asked by those on the Social Media platform why it took so long to put the fire out. Answered by Gilbert Fire’s PIO Mike Connor, “The apartment complex is under construction and in the wood frame construction phase, which quickly ignited and was fully engulfed very quickly due to the winds kicking up. We put out as fast as we were able to.”
No cause is known at this time and as we know for a fact that they will have to wait for the structure to cool down before the Fire Investigator can gain access to the fire scene. It may take a long time before the cause is determined. However, we have been on some fires where the FIU investigator found the cause right away.
Fire next to City Hall. Photo Credit: Gilbert Town Hall
At the last time of the press release around 2210 Hours MST, it was determined that things had greatly deescalated and the 5th Alarms companies were being released, returning to their own Cities.
Prior to releasing Mutual Aid companies, firefighters were busy with putting out spot fires that had spread previously but were able to successfully stop the forward spread to any other structures. No homes or other structures were affected by the fire.
The fire could be seen by many from Phoenix to the far East of the State.
Darkness is now reigning over the scene which looks like a great sight considering the earlier event that took place.
The Aftermath. Photo Credit: Gilbert Fire Rescue
The Red Cross has 7 Disaster volunteers on scene assisting residents of the Legacy Village Apartments which may be a long process. Others have returned to their home.
According to news media sources, one Firefighter was injured with burns to his hands. Three Police Officers were treated for smoke inhalation. We hope they will med quickly.
ABOUT GILBERT and GILBERT FIRE RESCUE
It is also the venue to 1.3 Million workers that only have a 30-minute commute or less. About 40.7% of the state’s residents have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher and is probably due to the 69 colleges, technical and other schools in the area. The number of educated residents is much higher than your 30% national average. Gilbert seems to lure those to a most favorable business climate, lower corporate taxes and a great collaborative Research and Development opportunities.
Great Fire Service
Gilbert has 10 Fire Stations in it’s large City.
Station 1: The Station is located at 2730 E Williams Field Rd, Gilbert, AZ. It is headquarters for the following apparatus: B251, E251, L251/Ladder Tender 251, Utility 251, Command Vehicle 251.
Station 2: Station 2 is located at 2855 E Guadalupe Road, Gilbert, AZ and is home to Engine 252 only.
Station 3: This Station is located at 1011 E Guadalupe Road, Gilbert, AZ and is the venue for B252, L253/Ladder 253, Engine 2540.
Station 4: Engine 254 resides here at Station 4 located 909 E Roy Road in Gilbert, Arizona.
Station 5: Station 5 is located at 3630 E Germann Street in Gilbert, Arizona and quarters for Ladder 255 / Ladder Tender 255.
Station 6: Engine 256 and Water Tender 256 reside at Station 6 located at 3595 E Warner Road in Gilbert, Arizona.
Station 7: Engine 257 is at this station located at 625 W Warner Road.
Station 8: Station 8 is located at 1095 E Germann Road in Gilbert, Arizona and the station where Engine 258 and HazMat 258 reside.
Station 10: E2510, NMRS Vehicle and the Civilian Decon units are located at 1330 W Guadalupe Road.
Station 11: The City’s last but not least Fire Station is located at 2860 E Riggs Road and the station for Engine 2511, Battalion 2511 and Water Tender 2511.
Great job to all firefighters, IC and Police Officers – and to the Dispatchers and Support personnel. This was a major event and you all worked great as a team to reach the ultimate goals of tapping the fire and saving lives. You all did a fabulous job!
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