Citizen response helps keep fire from turning into something worse

Firefighters inspecting the aftermath of a patio fire at an apartment complex, St. George, Utah, March 17, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Quick action on the part of citizens helped keep a small fire at an apartment complex from becoming a destructive blaze Monday night.

The St. George Fire Department responded to the report of a fire at an apartment complex off Tuweap Drive just before 10 p.m., Monday. The fire was situated on a patio on the back side of an apartment and proceeded to torch the entire patio area and a part of the vinyl siding.

“A passerby or somebody saw it,” St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said. “Upon our arrival they had evacuated the building. One of the bystanders had grabbed an extinguisher … (and) had most of (the fire) knocked down.”

Damage caused by the fire was limited to the outside of the structure and the vinyl siding, Stoker said. The vinyl siding itself is very flammable once its starts burning, he added. Coupled with high winds fanning the flames at the time, the fire could have been a lot worse.

“Luckily, quick action by a citizen kept it from getting into something that was a huge fire,” Stoker said.

No injuries were caused by the fire. No major damage was done to the apartment building beyond the torched patio and some smoke getting into the building. Residents were able to return to their apartments after the fire department determined the structure had not been compromised by the fire.

Having that extinguisher there and a citizen that knew how to use it saved quite a bit of property tonight,” Stoker said.

The cause of the fire has yet to be officially determined, though Stoker said it appeared to have been accidental in nature.

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  • DB March 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I wonder if there was a barbeque involved. Also, I didn’t realize that vinyl siding was that flammable.

  • bob lestewski April 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Anything is flammable given the right circumstances oxygen level and pyralysis

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