An estimated $45,000 in damage was caused to the northwest side home of an elderly woman after a neighbor helping her with landscaping used an “open flame device” to burn away weeds, a fire official said.
Just before 3:30 p.m. Thursday, crews were dispatched to the house fire in the 4300 block of West Pyracantha Drive near the intersection of West Magee and North Oldfather roads.
The first crew on the scene reported seeing heavy black smoke coming from an attached garage. It took 12 minutes to bring the blaze under control, Capt. Adam Goldberg, spokesman for the Northwest Fire District, said in a news release.
The elderly occupant was not at home at the time. Neighbors called 911 to report the blaze, Goldberg said.
“Fire Investigators were able to determine that the cause of the fire was accidental after a neighbor was assisting the elderly resident with some landscaping and weeding removal in the front yard,” he said. “The neighbor indicated to investigators that he had used an open flame device to burn weeds in the yard.
“Investigators believe that the burning weeds had allowed fire to extend under the siding of the wooden garage walls and burn undetected for several hours.”
The woman had to move out of her home until repairs are made, Goldberg said. She was planning to stay with relatives living in the area.