ST. GEORGE — A fire originating in the attic of a home in Washington City caused a portion of the roof to collapse Wednesday afternoon and left damage throughout the rest of the home.
The Washington City Fire Department received a page at 3:16 p.m. to a home on 100 South between 100 West and Main Street. The daughter of the home owner, who was not present, reportedly smelled burning rubber but could not locate the source before the home’s fire alarms went off. The entire house was filled with smoke by the time first responders arrived. Visible flames rose from the collapsed portion of the attic, sending smoke plumes into the sky that were visible for miles. All occupants of the home escaped safely and unharmed.
No official cause of the blaze has been named yet. However, the occupants reportedly told responders that an AC unit in the attic had been involved in a prior fire in the space and had stopped functioning a few hours before Wednesday’s incident, Julio Reyes, Washington City Fire public information officer, said.
“The family members of the home owners thought that was part of the reason the fire started,” Reyes told St. George News. “We’re not saying that’s what caused the fire. We haven’t even gotten into where that unit is yet … our investigation is still underway. We don’t have a conclusion yet on the cause of the fire.”
The fire damage was limited to the first-story attic adjacent to the second story. Reyes said smoke damage was “minor to moderate” downstairs but extensive throughout the upstairs space. The unit will be uninhabitable for “probably at least a couple months,” he said. Water damage is present throughout the entire home.
Responders had the fire under control and mostly extinguished shortly after 4 p.m. with hotspot control and monitoring continuing for several hours.
Kelly Kendall, brother of the home owner, said the home has been in the family for 12 years. Kendall said the family had just finished a six-figure remodeling project.
“They just paid the contractor,” Kendall said.
As bad as the situation was, it could have gotten worse.
Reyes said winds and high temperatures made the blaze a volatile situation, citing the May 21 Diagonal Street fire in St. George as an example of what could have happened. First fighters on scene were able to make an initial attack on the fire by breaching second-story windows to keep the fire from spreading.
The conditions also required the response of extra support to “rotate out” active fighters, Reyes said.
St. George Fire, Hurricane Valley Fire, Washington City Police and Gold Cross Ambulance also responded to the incident. Eight total apparatus and 28 total firefighter personnel were on scene.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.