POCATELLO — The 600 block of South Grant Avenue was aglow in orange light when Pocatello Police Officer Joel Greenway made the turn Friday night from Benton Street.
Greenway was responding to a 10:30 p.m. call from a neighbor who smelled smoke. The homes were close together, with thick trees, elevating the risk of a catastrophe. Ultimately, however, a quick response by several city and fire vehicles limited the damage.
Jeremy Pincock, a battalion chief with the Pocatello Fire Department, said a gazebo and a shed were lost, two covered back porches sustained heavy fire damage and two houses sustained exterior and smoke damage. However, the residences appeared to be habitable after the flames were extinguished.
No injuries were reported, Pincock said, and investigators from the city’s fire and police departments were sent to the scene to ascertain the cause, which hadn’t been determined as of 11:30 p.m. Friday.
“Right now we’re under investigation,” Pincock said. “It looks like the houses are habitable at this time and the damage is to the exterior.”
Upon arriving at the scene, Greenway immediately called for backup. He ran to the back yard of a home, where he saw towering flames, and then began shouting to the residents inside to evacuate.
Greenway said the residents inside of the homes threatened by flames were unaware of the fire until he shouted, “Pocatello Police!”
“That’s when I started hearing them scream inside the house,” Greenway said, adding other officers who arrived at the scene evacuated a couple of more homes in the vicinity.
A neighbor who identified herself as Susan said she called a police dispatcher after smelling smoke but didn’t notice flames at the time.
“I said, ‘This is an unusual smelling smoke.’ She said they’d send an officer because they hadn’t had a report of a fire,” Susan said.