3 discover house afire, save owner

Senta Scarborough
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 13, 2004 12:00 AM

Three cousins on a spur-of-the-moment trip may have saved the life of a Mesa man who was asleep while his home was engulfed in flames early Monday.

Arizona State University students Annie Pugmire, 20, Kelsee Brady, 19, and Shannon Hartman, 19, had been up chatting at the northeast Mesa home of one of them when they decided to go to Pugmire's home to spend the night.

"We were driving down the road and I saw some smoke," Pugmire said. "We drove a block more over, saw the flames . . . ."

They found it in the 4900 block of East Enrose Street.

"It was really weird. There were no cars driving by at all, and that is what compelled us to get out of the car and call police," Hartman said. "It was a good thing."

"We kept knocking," Pugmire said. "We were pushing on the screen, and he was saying, 'Don't come in my house.' We said, 'Your house is on fire.' "

Chris Trout, who had been sleeping, came out.

"He came out and looked at the house in awe. He . . . couldn't believe his house was on fire," Pugmire said. "A couple of minutes later, the roof collapsed."

Firefighters extinguished the fire in 26 minutes. It burned the roof, destroying the 1,500-square foot home. Fire investigators estimate damage at $160,000.

Mesa fire spokesman Ivard Brimley said Trout had put out a cooking fire in the kitchen about 2 1/2hours earlier, but did not contact the Fire Department.

Fire investigators say the earlier fire wasn't extinguished and spread to the attic and roof.