Downed wires, winds fuel blaze that ripped through 2 Taylor homes

- Shannon Bridges noticed someone was wrong about 4 p.m. Monday at her neighbor's house at the corner of Wick and Holland in Taylor. 

"There was a big pop. It sounded like a gunshot," she says. "You could see the flames coming out of the washer and dryer area where the first part of the chimney is. And then you could see the kids running out of the house."

At the same time, another neighbor noticed a similar problem. 

"My lights started flickering, and the next thing I know, I walked outside of the house and saw a burst of flames," says William Fenich. He called 911 and the Taylor fire battalion chief was first at the scene. 

"We had multiple wires down, so my crews could not make an initial attack," says Battalion Chief Tim Grapentien. In the aftermath, you could see the scorch marks on the lawn left behind by the live wires. 

Now, two families are forced to start over and rebuild after their homes went up in flames. Firefighters faced many challenges, included downed wires and high winds. 

VIDEO: At least two homes burn in Taylor

"It's tough to tell on the grass," Grapentien says. "When the grass gets wet as you saw, it was sparking and arcing out here. The best thing is to be safe and go defensively."

In the meantime, strong winds out of the east helped spread the fire, from a garage to one house to another. While waiting for utility crews to cut the power, attention and water was put on the nearby structures still in the path of destruction. 

"We prevented it from moving other than the two houses that were originally on fire," Grapentien says.

In the end only the brick chimneys were still left standing. 

"We got everyone out of the houses," he says. "At this time we are still investigating the actual cause of the fire. We still have quite a bit of digging to do."

The fire chief says the city has a program to help people who have lost everything, at least for a couple of days.

Neighbors we spoke with said they will do whatever they can to help out these two families who have to start over from scratch - because, as they put it, that's what they do around here. 

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