One firefighter, three police officers injured battling massive Arizona inferno

Families in Gilbert, Arizona forced to evacuate their homes


One firefighter and three police officers were injured as they tried to contain an inferno at an unfinished Arizona apartment complex Saturday night.

Gilbert fire officials told 12 News that the firefighter suffered burns on his hands and the Gilbert police officers were treated for smoke inhalation.

Some residents who were evacuated near the major fire in the Phoenix suburb returned home early Sunday. About 60 people were evacuated from the area, American Red Cross public information officer Diana Cross said. Evacuees from an apartment complex near the fire were still displaced, she said.

The five-alarm fire began Saturday just after 6 p.m. at an apartment complex under construction and spread to a home near Gilbert and Warner roads, ABC15 reported. Gilbert Fire and Rescue posted on Twitter that homes from Civic Center Drive to Nunneley to Deon had been evacuated.

The Arizona Republic reported that the complex was made up of at least seven, three-story buildings. Most of the complex had collapsed.

“The construction was in the wood frame stage, Gilbert Fire Department Capt. Gary Hildebrandt told the newspaper. ”It’s going to be exposed wood, so it’s going to burn hotter and faster, and with the winds kicking up, we had a hard time containing it right away."

More than 40 trucks and 120 firefighters worked to contain the massive blaze. Crews from Mesa, Chandler and Superstition assisted in quenching it.

The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known.

Gilbert Fire and Rescue posted on Twitter that Warner Road, which was closed while firefighters worked to put out the blaze, has been reopened.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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