TUCSON, Ariz. – A stolen construction tractor crashed into an Arizona home where it started a fire and then broke free and smashed into a second home before firefighters could shut it down.
There were no reported injuries from the incident in Tucson early Tuesday morning, but officials declared both homes total losses.
"It looks like a tornado went through,' said Fire Capt. Barrett Baker.
A woman called 911 shortly before 1 a.m. to report that the tractor had crashed through two walls and into in her home and started a fire, said Baker, a Fire Department spokesman who was among the responders.
Baker said firefighters didn't know what to expect but arrived to find the tractor with its engine still running inside the first home and black smoke coming from the home.
Firefighters fought the fire and evacuated neighboring homes but were unable to safely reach the tractor to shut it down before it pivoted sideways, crashed out of the first home and plowed into the one next door.
Baker said the machine then stopped and a firefighter was able to reach an access panel and shut off the tractor's fuel supply.
Both homes were left shambles.
"The homes are what was taking the damage, not the tractor," Baker said.
Sgt. Kimberly Bay, a Police Department spokeswoman, said the tractor was stolen from a construction site about a quarter-mile away. She said she didn't have details on how it was stolen.
Police auto-theft detectives were checking for witnesses and surveillance video but hadn't identified any suspects, Bay said.
Bay and Baker said there was no indication initially that anybody was on the tractor when it crashed through a block wall and then entered the homes.
"At this point it looks like it was put in gear and left to go," Bay said.
The machine moved on tracks and had a big mast-like boom, possibly for lifting and lowering pipes, Baker said.