Crews battle early morning structure fire for several hours in Washington City

WASHINGTON CITY — A family was awakened to the sound of smoke alarms early Thursday morning after a fire started in the garage of their home and spread quickly. The family evacuated the house safely as crews continued to battle the blaze well into the morning.

Structure fire on North Sunset Drive destroys garage but home is spared, Washington City, Utah, July 11 , 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly after 2 a.m. emergency personnel were dispatched to a structure fire on North Sunset Drive involving a two-story residence where the garage was fully involved in fire, Washington City Fire Chief Matt Evans told St. George News Thursday.

The family was able to safely evacuate the home before the fire department arrived on scene minutes later, Evans said.

The fire spread into the attic area of the garage, and fire crews arrived to find flames shooting out of the roof of the garage.

Crews initiated an aggressive attack on the blaze to prevent it from spreading from the three-car garage to an adjacent two-story patio area that connected the large home to the garage.

Firefighters from the St. George Fire Department and Hurricane Fire and Rescue were also paged and arrived to assist in firefighting efforts, Evans said, adding that it’s standard procedure, particularly when a residential structure is involved.

Fire suppression efforts were made difficult by the enormous amount of fuel that continued to feed the fire. Garages are typically full of combustible items and materials that provide a rich fuel source for a fire, Evans said, adding that in this case, efforts were made more difficult by the close proximity of the residence.

SUV and two other vehicles parked inside garage are destroyed during structure fire on North Sunset Drive in Washington City, Utah, July 11 , 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

After battling the blaze into the morning hours, the fire was extinguished before sunrise. Firefighters remained at the scene for several more hours conducting an overhaul of the fire, which entails opening walls, ceilings and any voids to check for any remaining embers or flames that would have extended from the garage into other areas not readily visible.

The garage was destroyed in the blaze, but besides extensive smoke damage, the residence was otherwise spared from the fire.

“There is significant loss and damage to the garage structure for sure,” Evans said. “But these guys did a phenomenal job of stopping the fire before it reached the home.”

More importantly, he said, the family made it out uninjured.

“The smoke detectors worked,” he said, “which was great because the family was asleep at the time and were able to get out.”

Evans said investigation into the cause of the fire was underway as of Thursday morning and authorities will know more shortly.

The family will be staying with relatives that live in the area.

Two vehicles parked inside the garage and one SUV parked in front were all destroyed in the fire.

The Washington City Fire Department, Hurricane Valley Fire District, St. George Fire Department, Washington City Police Department and Gold Cross Ambulance responded and tended to the scene.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.


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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.



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