By John Hernandez
San Manuel Miner
Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 17, a structure fire was reported at the Mammoth Apartments at 14930 S. Highway 77. The Mammoth Volunteer Fire Department responded immediately while calls were quickly put into the San Manuel and Oracle Fire Departments for assistance. The Mammoth Fire Department began the initial attack on the fire. It was an aggressive attack that knocked down the fire and with the assistance of multiple agencies they were able to contain the fire to one unit.
No one was injured in the blaze although two young girls had to be rescued from the back bedrooms of the apartment that was on fire. Some courageous and quick thinking neighbors got a ladder and one of them climbed to the windows of the back bedrooms on the second story of the building. They then broke the windows and were able to safely remove the young girls from danger. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
Incident Commander and Mammoth Fire Chief Marty Ponce said, “It was the good effort of multiple agencies that contained the fire.” He added, “Everything fell into place and went like it was supposed too. Everyone worked well together.” Chief Ponce wanted to thank all the agencies that responded and assisted in containing the fire. These agencies included the Oracle, San Manuel, Pinal Rural Fire Rescue, and Dudleyville fire departments. He said a special thanks goes out to Golder Ranch Fire Department for sending investigators.
The Mammoth Police Department and Mammoth Public Works assisted. The other police agencies involved were Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and Hayden Police Department. Tri-City Med was at the scene and provided the rehab (medical attention, rehydration, smoke inhalation treatment, etc.) for those in need. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain came to help and spoke to some of the people.
The Red Cross and residents of the community of Mammoth helped. “We have a strong connection to the community,” said Chief Ponce. “The Red Cross came out at three in the morning and was still around during the day to see if people needed help.” The American Red Cross Grand Canyon chapter is helping two families relocate due to fire damage to the apartments they were living in. They are providing assistance to one family of nine and another family of seven. They helped ten children and six adults following the fire.
Christine Ponce was instrumental in contacting staff from the Mammoth STEM School which provided use of the school cafeteria for a place to stay for people who were forced to evacuate from the apartment building during the fire. They also provided a bus to transport the people to the school. Mayor Alvaro Barcelo showed up to see if any assistance was needed. Around three in the morning Patsy Large, town clerk went to the school cafeteria and provided blankets and pillows for the people staying there.
The fighting of the fire and the assistance that followed was a community effort from the unsung heroes that rescued two girls, to the volunteer fire fighters, assisting agencies and caring townspeople. People caring about and helping others, a nice example of a little Christmas spirit in the Tri-Community.