Crews respond to structure fire in Hurricane while tenant is arrested in unrelated drug investigation

Hurricane Valley Fire District responds to a structure fire on East 450 North that starts in the laundry room, Hurricane, Utah, April 30, 2020 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

HURRICANE — Firefighters responded to a structure fire at a residence in Hurricane Thursday that turned out to be two mobile homes that were combined into one, while one of the tenants was arrested as part of an unrelated drug investigation.

Hurricane Valley Fire District responds to a structure fire on East 450 North that starts in the laundry room, Hurricane, Utah, April 30, 2020 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

Shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire reported on East 450 North where a blaze was burning at the rear of the home and smoke was seen coming from the residence.

Crews arrived within two minutes of the page, Hurricane Valley Fire Battalion Chief Kohl Furley said, and found active flames coming from inside of a laundry room located near the back of the home that consisted of two mobile homes that were placed together “over years of additions and construction projects,” he said.

Firefighters entered the home and during a primary search determined the home was unoccupied and began tackling the blaze that was extinguished  “very quickly,” he said.

With the fire extinguished, he said, crews then checked for fire extension into the attic and other areas in close proximity to where the blaze started. Finding none, firefighters set up large positive-pressure ventilation fans to remove the heavy smoke from inside of the residence.

For the next hour or so, firefighters continued removing material and checking the area for hot spots or fire extensions that were not readily visible but could potentially reignite and cause a secondary fire at a later time, while the ventilation fans continued pushing smoke and fumes out of the home.

Furley said the fire caused at least $70,000 in damage to the residence and the fire investigation is still ongoing, so the cause has yet to be determined. He also said that due to the various construction projects that have taken place over the years, certain areas of the structure did not appear to be up to building code, but those issues will be handled by the city building inspector.

Multiple engines and fire apparatus lined the street from Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue and the Colorado City-Hildale Fire Department while Hurricane Police Officers also responded to contain the area.

Rubilee Schekenbach, 32, of Hurricane, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, April 30, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

While fire crews were tending to the structure fire, an unrelated incident was unfolding. One of the tenants of the home, Rubilee Schekenbach, 32, was arrested and transported to jail on misdemeanor drug and paraphernalia possession charges involving a case that was unrelated to the Thursday’s blaze.

Schekenbach was the subject of an ongoing investigation that began months before into allegations that narcotics were being sold out of the residence, according to court records. Subsequently, three second-degree felony distribution charges submitted by the Washington County Drug Task Force and then filed in 5th District Court Friday. 

The home was searched by police who reportedly found paraphernalia containing drug residue, prompting the misdemeanor drug and paraphernalia possession charges listed in the report.

The suspect appeared in 5th District Court Friday and remains in custody as this report publishes.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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