East Carbon/Sunnyside Fire Fighter Jesse Pantelakis begins to clear equipment after two homes burned on Denver Avenue in East Carbon.
Flames and explosions filled the night sky in East Carbon early Monday, as two residences were incinerated amid igniting oxygen-acetylene tanks and exploding firearm ammunition. Residents and neighbors were evacuated but no injuries were reported.
The fire began around 1:30 a.m. when a reportedly unoccupied home at 159 Denver Ave., caught fire. According to East Carbon/Sunnyside Fire Chief Gene Madrid, the home, owned by Doc Brinkley, was completely engulfed and had spread to the adjacent residence at 157 Denver Ave. as fire engines arrived.
Over the next four hours, fire fighters from East Carbon/Sunnyside, Wellington and Price battled to keep the fire from progressing to additional homes on its western side.
"We were within a foot of seeing another home go up in flames," said East Carbon/Sunnyside Fire Fighter Rick Madrid. "There was a wall of flames that just kept pushing west."
In addition to the fire, crews on scene had to deal with projectiles and explosions which went off regularly as welding tanks and ammunition exploded
"We found tanks two streets away from the scene," continued Rick Madrid. "They were like missiles."
"I was shocked awake by the noise and saw the flames from my window," said Darrell Waters, who lives across the street from 157 Denver, where his parents were renting. "I kicked in my parents' door and got them out out as quick as I could. That fire looked like it was just going to keep growing."
Lyle Waters, 51, Nile Waters, 79 and Loretta, 78, all escaped unhurt. The family returned and congregated in Darrel's yard, just feet from the destroyed homes, as fire fighters began to clear away the last of their equipment.
State Fire Marshals will now begin investigating the fire. City officials had no comment concerning the fire's origin. Chief Madrid warned that collecting or hoarding items like welding tanks and ammunition can be dangerous, especially in homes that are vacant. Brinkley is reportedly living at another location.