Witness: Afraid the neighborhood was going to burn

Credit: Eric Turner/ KTVB

Witness: Afraid the neighborhood was going to burn

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by KTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 2, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 3 at 6:12 PM

3-Alarm House Fire

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BOISE -- The Thursday night fire on Hill Road was so hot and so intense that it caused the home to collapse, and the entire scene was caught on video.

The winds were also a problem for firefighters in an area where many homeowners have wood shake roofs.

The Boise Fire Department does not get a lot of fires like the one on Thursday night, and for the people who live in the area, what they saw reminded them of a fire that happened back in 2008.

Friday morning there were a lot of people coming to see what was left from Thursday night's fire.

"It's crazy. I don't even live here, but it's a beautiful home. Every time we come I look at it," said Sue Francis, who came to look at the home.

Because the home was vacant, it was burning for sometime before firefighters got to the scene.

When they did, they weren't there long before the home collapsed and nearly falling on top of firefighters.

"It was chaos for a little bit because we did think we had one trapped under there. They were having difficulty finding one of the firefighters," said Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan.

That firefighter was eventually found and jumped back in the firefight.

However, the home on the corner wasn't firefighter's only concern.

"It was windy and there were hundreds and hundreds of red embers that were coming down, landing on the trees, landing on the house," said neighbor Thomas Faucher.

Jill Coles was one of those homeowners.

"My daughter and I could just see the ashes coming and dropping. It was just like being under fireworks, but you don't want to be under any fireworks that close," said Coles.

Her wood shake roof,  as well as Faucher's both caught fire.

A man driving by with his family saw that and put both fires out with a hose.

Coles recently moved from East Boise to just off Hill Road, and remembers the Oregon Trail Fire that killed one woman and destroyed a neighborhood.

"I was just so worried after living through the Oregon Trail Fire that this whole neighborhood was going to go down," said Coles.

But that didn't happen, and all of the homeowners credit the firefighters.

"The firemen and the policemen were incredibly good. They couldn't have been more professional, they couldn't have been nicer," said Faucher. "I'm very proud Boise has people of that caliber."

With all the embers that were flying around and even with the home collapsing with firefighters nearby, the only injuries that happened were minor injuries to a handful of firefighters. Those injuries were so minor that those firefighters were able to remain on the job and fought the fire throughout the night.

In all there were around 55 firefighters who helped fight this fire, and the fire department even had a wildland engine roaming the neighborhoods making sure none of the flying embers started any other fires.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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