An accidental gasoline explosion in a garage is being cited as the cause of a fire the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 23 in Hillcrest Bay. Two homes were completely destroyed, and one person was transported from the scene with burns on his hands and legs.
Hillcrest Bay is located off State Route 95 just south of the Bill Williams River Bridge.
Buckskin Fire Chief Troy Maloney said they got the call at 6:10 p.m. The first report they had was it was a brush fire, but, when they arrived on the scene, they saw it was an active structure fire. The home where the fire started was on Linger Drive. One home was 75 percent involved and another was 25 percent involved, with five other homes being threatened. Buckskin Fire brought more units to the scene.
Units from Parker, Lake Havasu City and Desert Hills responded, and they were able to protect the surrounding structures. Firefighters were able to hold the fire to the original two structures. The structures that were exposed to the fire on the west sustained heavy damage to a boat and several personal watercraft. A garage also sustained minor damage.
In all, 20 firefighters were on scene. One crew stayed all night on fire watch for any flare-ups.
Maloney said the gasoline explosion occurred when a man was working on a motor vehicle in the garage of the first home. He was taken from the scene by American Medical Response in an ambulance and later flown to the Burn Center at Maricopa County Medical Center in Phoenix with burns on his hands and legs.
There were no other injuries reported.
“Lack of water supply was a major issue in this event,” Maloney said in his report in the incident. “Water had to be shuttled from Havasu Springs Resort.”
The problem was there are no fire hydrants in Hillcrest Bay. Maloney said other developments in their district also lack fire hydrants.
“We have very few fire hydrants in our District,” Maloney said in an e-mail to the Pioneer. “Private water companies are not required by the Corporation Commission to install fire hydrants.”
Maloney told the Today’s News Herald that two tenders hauled about 45,000 gallons of water to fight the fire.
Marianna Benner, who also lives on Linger Drive, told the Today’s News Herald she is on the HOA board and was unaware of the emergency water issues in the community prior to Wednesday.
“I’m on the horn this morning,” she said. “We need to get it figured out today, if not yesterday. I’m an advocate for fire safety and I even didn’t know this was going on. We are going to have to solve this problem immediately.”
In addition to units from the Buckskin, Parker Lake Havasu City and Desert Hills Fire Departments, American Medical Response and the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene. Maloney said he thanked all of their mutual aid partners for their assistance.
- Today's News Herald Reporter Michael Zogg contributed to this story.