CEDAR CITY – Fire crews responded to a structure fire Thursday night that residents allege was caused by arson.
Authorities were dispatched to the fire located on the block of 300 South and 100 East at around 7:15 p.m.
Neighbors who saw the flames ran over and helped keep the fire contained before police and firefighters arrive on scene. Fire crews remained on site for a couple of hours after flames were doused to make sure the fire did not spread into the insulation.
The damage was minimal and contained to the left corner of the home’s front, Cedar City Fire Chief Mike Phillips said. There were no personal injuries reported.
Police officers were dispatched to locate a person of interest who the residents of the home allege started the fire.
Sarah Chyna, a renter of the home, said she and her boyfriend had another couple over for a BBQ when some issues arose and her boyfriend asked the man to leave his property.
Chyna and her boyfriend went in the home and left the other couple outside. However, China alleged that the man kicked the BBQ that was still burning toward the home and then ran.
“We asked him to leave and we went inside. He was mad because my boyfriend asked him to leave. We didn’t want him here. And the next we knew our home was burning,” China said. “He kicked the BBQ and it went flying and caught the house on fire. We saw it burning and ran out of the house. I was the one who called 911. It was scary.”
One neighbor said he saw the flames from his house and ran over to help. As he came up on the scene he said he found a garbage can, located next to the home, with the contents inside ablaze.
The incident is still under investigation and Phillips would not confirm or deny the possibility of arson.
“I’ve seen too many things in my career as a firefighter and what I know is I can’t make that call when we haven’t even spoke with the individual the residents are alleging caused it,” Phillips said. “I know what they’re saying but we have to finish our investigation and the police need to do their job before we can make a determination on the cause of this fire.”
As of 9 p.m. law enforcement had not yet located the individual wanted for questioning.
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