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‘It was scary’: Valley couple narrowly escapes north Phoenix house fire

The couple, their dog, and two cats were sleeping, when around 1:30 a.m. they woke up to the smell of smoke. The fire quickly spread through the home.

PHOENIX — Months after battling cancer, Kim Kurtz is facing a new challenge.

The mobile home she had lived in for two years with her husband near 7th Street and Union Hills Drive was destroyed in a fire Sunday morning.

All of the couple’s belongings were turned into ashes.

“I remember looking up and seeing a ball of fire over my head and not knowing what to do,” Kurtz said. “It was scary, I could feel the heat. I got up and just yelled for my husband, we both got out right before all this came down.”

The couple, their dog, and two cats were sleeping, when around 1:30 a.m. they woke up to the smell of smoke. The fire quickly spread through the home.

Kurtz husband suffered second-degree burns to his head, neck, back, and arms as he led the way for his wife while they escaped the flames.

“If he wouldn’t have gotten out when he did, it would have collapsed on him, it was that close,” Kim added.

Fire crews arrived on the scene minutes later and prevented the flames from spreading beyond the mobile home. The cause is still under investigation.

Heirloom family bible among the things lost

The whole inside of the mobile home was completely charred.

A fish tank exploded, most of the rooms lost their walls, and the Kurtz heirloom family bible—in the family since 1945-- was burnt.

“It went from my grandmother to my mother, my mother to me, and then I was going to give to my son to give to my granddaughter,” Kurtz said with tears filling her eyes. “I lost it, with the only picture I had of my great-grandma. Family is so important to me, and that picture is all I had.”

Two days after the fire, the couple stopped to see what was left of their home. While searching among the debris, Kurtz's husband located what was left of the bible.

Burnt pages protected a photograph of Kurtz's son taken 30 years ago when he was just three years old. Her grandmother’s picture did not survive the fire.

Help replacing dentures burned in the fire

With only seconds to escape, the couple was not able to save any of their personal belongings. One of those essential things lost was Kurtz’s dentures.

That loss is what motivated Sunny Parker with the non-profit Arizona Foothills 911, which helps families in need just North of the Valley, to help the Kurtz.

“That really touched me,” Parker said. “It’s really hard when you walk in and see their entire life is gone.”

Parker and other community members helped the couple with food, clothes, and financial assistance after creating online fundraisers.

“What we are hoping to do right now is honestly, hope that a dentist will find out what’s going on and maybe they can reach out and help her with her teeth,” Parker said.

As those efforts are underway, anyone wanting to help the Kurtz family can donate through PayPal by selecting the “Kurtz Family Relief Fund" from the drop-down menu or you can family's GoFundMe page.

“I just don’t know what we would do without all the help from all the kind people,” Kurtz said. “We’re alive, our animals made it, and we’re very thankful for that.”

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: 'Fue aterrador': Una pareja del Valle escapa por poco del incendio de una casa al norte de Phoenix


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