Friday afternoon at 3:50 pm, Golden Valley Firefighters responded to one of their own, when the home of GVFD Board member Paul Gorham’s house caught on fire in the 4300 block of Abrigo Road. A neighbor first reported the fire when smoke was seen coming from the eaves of the home, and immediately following dispatch of GVFD units, 911 reported flames were now coming from the approximately 2,500 square foot home. Chief O’Donohue reported that first arriving units reported heavy involvement to the rear of the home and that flames had already breached to roof. O’Donohue continued, “Firefighters made a very aggressive interior attack through a rear entrance trying to get ahead of the fast moving attic fire, but as soon as the roof began to fail the decision to pull everybody out and transition to a defensive tactics, firefighting only from the outside”. As soon as the roof structure fails, firefighters’ lives are in grave danger. In addition, when the roof structure fails from an attic fire, fire rains down from above as it crashes through the ceiling into uninvolved rooms. “Firefighters really hate to pull out from interior attacks which are most effective, but there is nothing inside an empty home worth the life of even one firefighter” O’Donohue said. Gorham & his wife, who were in Show Low at the time of the fire, arrived home about 8:30 pm as firefighters continued mop-up operations, pulling walls down to access hidden fires and eliminate some safety concerns. Gorham and his family graciously thanked the firefighters who worked so hard. Because this was a Board member, GVFD officials contacted Kingman Fire Department to have Fire Marshal / Assistant Chief Keith Eaton investigate this fire. O’Donohue stated: “We are confident we know the room of origin and have a very good idea what started the fire, although results won’t be released until some additional work is done by the investigator”. Estimates of the damage are pending, although the home and contents are considered a total loss. Fire officials strongly encourage a 24-hour monitored fire alarm whenever possible so fires can’t grow unnoticed until it’s too late.
Contributed by: Thomas O’Donohue, Fire Chief
PHOTO: 561 a Firefighters Justin Ramos and Hunter Davis tending to spot fires across the rear of the home