Carefree ‘wedding cake’ house fire rules accidentally | City news
IIt is uncertain what exactly caused the fire that raged through the legendary Wedding Cake house in Carefree earlier this month. However, the results of the investigation excluded the potential for foul play.
The cause of the fire has been said to be accidental but is still under investigation, according to Joaquin Enriquez, information officer for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
“The detective is certain that it is not a deliberately started fire,” said Enriquez. “We didn’t find anything that would lead us to believe it was arson.”
The 6,000-square-foot home was empty at the time of the fire as it was undergoing major renovations.
The house had no electricity when the Rural Metro Fire arrived, and the emergency services found an “abundance of combustible material” during the renovation, Enriquez said.
“However, the detective was unable to determine exactly how the fire started and the cause is listed as undetermined,” he said.
Rural Metro Fire responded to the call around 2 a.m. on February 2, and by the time the emergency services arrived, the flames had already caused the collapse of the second and third floors of the house, said fire chief John Kraetz.
“We have no idea when the fire actually started,” he said. “It burned for a while before anyone noticed.”
It took a couple of hours to put the flames down and about ten hours to put everything out completely, Kraetz said. Around 35 emergency services were part of the effort and no one was injured.
However, he said this particular incident was “one of the more difficult residential fires I have participated in in my 47-year career.”
The lavish home sits high in the rocky landscape of Black Mountain overlooking the Hilton Boulders Resort & Spa near North Tom Darlington Road and the East Carefree Highway.
Rural Metro Fire shared photos of the burning house on its Facebook page after the fire was contained at 6:30 a.m.
“The crews of Cave Creek and Carefree fought against heavy flames, steep terrain and challenging real estate design that put the flames back,” says one part of the text.
The house is practically inaccessible because of the steep driveway, which makes it particularly difficult to put out the flames, said Kraetz.
This, together with the significant structural collapse, led the emergency services to put out the flames with a “defensive” strategy, said Kraetz.
“I made it very clear to everyone who worked on the fireplace that it was a so-called defensive fire. This means that we stay at a distance, pour water on it until it goes out, and positions remain safe. “
The building continued to collapse as they hosed the flames off the street, he said.
“Fortunately, the firefighters were removed from these areas when the building began to fall apart.”
Kraetz described the damage with the words that the second and third floors of the house had been “completely gutted”.
However, a decent part of the first floor suffered no significant fire damage, just “a ton” of water damage, he said.
“It stayed reasonably intact, which was amazing.”
“The guys did a great job,” said Kraetz.
The emergency services “worked for hours, not only clearing the structure, but also making sure that the surrounding desert and the houses above it on the hill were not affected by the fire,” he said.
The house in European villa style was designed and built by Gary Jones in 1986 and, according to Zillow, is a “unique symbol of carefree”.
The three-tier, privately-gated home has a large pool, double elevators, intricate coffered ceilings, a large dining room, and a “towering” 25-foot dome ceiling, the property website says.
Edward and Karen Carmines bought the house for $ 1.18 million in June 2019, according to information from Maricopa County Assessor Eddie Cook.
The owners began renovations before they ever moved into the house, Kraetz said.
“They described being about a month before moving in when the fire occurred.”
The Foothills Focus reached out to homeowner Karen Carmines for an interview. She sighed and said she didn’t want to be interviewed.
“It’s not a good time,” said Carmines.
The house was tremendously damaged by the fire. The roof structure collapsed through several floors, said Kraetz.
He described it as “basically just a big pit”.
The house’s windows are broken and the flames burned through many of its intricate wall details, leaving traces of black ash.
It’s unclear exactly what will happen to this legendary carefree home, but as of now, homeowners are unlikely to be moving in anytime soon.
– Employee Sarah Donahue
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