Sedona AZ (January 14, 2020) – On New Year’s Eve day, Sedona Fire District crews were dispatched to a reported structure fire at 49 Eagle Ln. in the Chapel area. The first units were on scene 00:06:07 (six minutes and seven seconds) after being dispatched and found a fully engulfed structure under construction with fire threatening other nearby buildings. Firefighters took a defensive posture due to the amount of fire involvement of the target structure and directed resources to protect the nearby exposed buildings. “Our firefighters did a great job keeping the fire confined to the building of origin. Our first goal is always life safety. Second to that is protecting property. In this case, when we arrive to a fully involved building, we protect the surrounding buildings and vegetation. The fact that no one was injured and we successfully protected the surrounding buildings is very good,” said Fire Chief Jon Trautwein, “Responding from Station 6 really illustrated the importance of having a station located between the VOC and Sedona”
After the fire was fully extinguished, fire crews remained on scene around the clock for the next four days while a fire investigation was completed. Sedona Fire Investigators requested and received assistance from Sedona Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) and Gilbert Fire Department, which has a dog certified by BATFE. During the investigation, samples from the fire scene were collected and sent to the BATFE lab for analysis. “We do not expect to get results back on those samples for several weeks,” said Fire Marshal Jon Davis, noting that in some cases it may take up to several months. “At this time, we believe the cause may be accidental although we have not yet ruled out every potential possibility,” said Davis.
“It is not uncommon for buildings under construction to catch fire,” said Davis. He further went on to explain that there are many trades working at construction sites, using multiple sources of heat to apply roofing, install plumbing, and cutting or welding. Davis also noted that construction fires tend to burn quickly and intensely for a multitude of reasons:
- There are no doors or windows to restrict air flow to the fire.
- Lumber is not only kiln dried but is also arranged in a vertical orientation and without drywall to protect the structural members.
- The arrangement of this particular structure was such that there was large open area with vaulted ceilings connecting the first and second floors.
“In a finished home we are essentially dealing with multiple small compartments protected by drywall, in a construction fire we have one large unprotected structure with unrestricted air flow,” he said, “There is a reason buildings are built the way the codes require.
No injuries were reported during the fire and the estimated loss is $480,000.
At this time, the investigation remains open. Anyone with any information regarding this fire should contact Sedona Fire District, Fire Investigator Evans at 928-204-8926 or Sedona Police Department, Detective Bergstad at 928-282-3100.