Firefighters Struggle to Contain West Valley House Fire Due to Water Supply Issues

Aaron Burrell

MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ  — A neighbor captured drone footage after a West Valley home near 87th Avenue and Deer Valley Road caught fire on Thursday morning.

Mark Blosser noticed that firefighters were struggling to get water to the house.

“All the fire trucks were here, but there wasn’t any water supply,” Blosser said. “They had to pump water from 91st Avenue up to the pump truck.”

There are no fire hydrants near the house, so crews had to run hoses down the block and around the corner to the nearest one. This delay took valuable time away from saving the house.

Peoria Fire Battalion Chief Ken Wier explained that this is common in county islands.

“Hydrants are different here compared to where we usually respond,” Wier said. “There aren’t many hydrants around. We had to lay a couple thousand feet of hose to get water to the fire. It’s one of the risks of living in the county unregulated, but that comes with trade-offs.”

Thousands of homeowners in Maricopa County face a similar risk. They live on county islands or unincorporated areas with limited water resources and no fire service.

Shawn Gilleland with Rural Metro Fire suggests homeowners without city services get a Rural Metro Emergency Response subscription, which costs about $550 a year, to ensure a crew will respond in case of a fire or medical emergency.

Some homeowners in county islands, like the Rio Verde community north of Scottsdale, have built water tanks on their property. However, Gilleland emphasizes that basic fire safety is essential.

“Have working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, and prepare your property with defensible space by clearing anything that could spread a fire to the house, like grasses and dead trees,” Gilleland advised.

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