Fire raged through a mobile home Friday displacing an 83-year-old Mescal resident and her dogs from her home which has been declared a total loss.

A rapid response and attack on behalf of Mescal/J6 Fire District firefighters is credited for containment of the blaze to the property on Mescal Road, authorities said.

Mescal firefighters Brandee Olander and Tim Allen were en route within two minutes of receiving the 8:30 a.m. dispatch, explained Mescal Fire Chief John Moran, noting their “size up” of the situation, timely call out for mutual aid from neighboring agencies and swift water attack enabled the containment effort.

“... Despite only having two firefighters on scene for the initial attack, [Engine 171] did a remarkable job,” said Moran. “They were able to keep the fire from spreading to other structures and/or starting a wild land fire.”

Homeowner Joanna Osborne, 83, a 40-year resident, who lost everything in the fire, is unsure of the future.

“It’s all gone,” she said, clad in pajamas and reduced to watching the firefighting effort from across the street. “I came out of the bedroom and there flames in the living room,” she recounted. “I got the dogs and got out… I don’t know how it started.”

A full out mutual aid response from Benson, Sundance, Pomerene, and St. David fire departments aided in suppression efforts, and welcomed the respective fire chiefs that comprise the valley.

“We’re all short of personnel, especially in the daytime, but we can always count on firefighters from Benson, St. David, and Pomerene fire departments,” said Moran. Sundance Fire, based in J-Six, is a private fire suppression company that contract to state and federal wildfires. “... We can always count on Sundance’s assistance, if they’re not out on a wildland fire somewhere,” said Moran, noting a tender from Sundance Fire was the first mutual aid unit on scene, arriving just as Mescal/J6 firefighters were using the last of their tank water.

“Benson’s [E1711] with its compressed air foam unit was next. Tasked with making entry through the front door, BFD was able to get at the seat of the fire,” explained Moran. “St. David and Pomerene were there with tenders shortly thereafter. All of the different fire crews worked together to ensure the fire’s complete extinguishment, then transitioned to salvage and overhaul operations.”

A separate item filled mobile home adjacent and horizontal to the main home which lied parallel to Mescal Road in a T-bone-like fashion, along with a shed, an RV and four vehicles, provided challenges for firefighters. Throw in the steady breeze and enough dried brush surrounding the property, and the situation could easily had gotten out of hand, authorities on scene said.

“Considering the time of year, the drought we’re experiencing, and the weather at the time of the fire, it could have been much, much worse,” said Moran.

Cause of the blaze remained undetermined Monday and there was no  monetary property damage estimate available. The American Red Cross is assisting with food, clothing and shelter.

Benson Fire Chief Keith Spangler lauded the effort on behalf of Mescal/J6 FD.

“Mescal did an excellent job,” said Spangler.


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