Even after losing her Ahwatukee Foothills house to a fire at 3 a.m. on Monday, Marcy Tretbar shed her first tears later that afternoon thinking about all that her neighbors and friends had done to help her family.
"I just want to thank them all," she said. "It's just a great community."
Tretbar said she awoke around 3 a.m. Monday to the sound of the smoke alarm at her house near Fifth Avenue and Chandler Boulevard. She thought it was a clock alarm at first so she went and checked on the kids. They were both sleeping but she began to notice a thin layer of smoke on the second floor of their home.
"I ran downstairs to check the kitchen and there was nothing there but the door that goes to the garage is a metal door and it was all red," Tretbar said. "The arson investigators said that's what saved us was it was a metal door so it kept the fire inside the garage."
She woke up the kids and everyone got out safely but the garage was full of flames. A neighbor tried to hook up a hose to fight the fire but it was too dark to see and the fire was moving fast, Tretbar said. Once the fire was out it was clear the whole south side of the home was a loss, including the car that was parked in the garage and the kid's bedrooms.
Investigators believe an old refrigerator in the garage was the cause of the fire, according to Capt. Berry Morgan of the Phoenix Fire Department.
In the morning Tretbar's daughter was supposed to head to cross country practice with her Desert Vista team but she had to call and tell the coach she couldn't make it. After practice the team came to her, including the coaches, to see what could be saved from the home.
"Everyone from the cross country team came out here after practice. Even the coaches came out and loaded up what they could," Tretbar said. "They loaded up a van and stored everything in the neighbor's house. They brought boxes, bags, someone even ordered pizza for everyone. It was just great."
She said they received many offers for places to stay but the American Red Cross set them up with a hotel room for the night and a few other necessities.
"That's all replaceable," Tretbar said. "Thank the Lord that we're OK and now we just start over. The cross country coach just said, ‘We're family, we pull together.'"
The team may be planning fundraisers for the future but for now an account has been set up for the Tretbar family at Arizona Federal Credit Union. Donations can be made directly to the "Tretbar Family Account."
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