Fire causes irreparable damage to century-old home in Newcastle

Homeowner Linsie Umana and her 8-year-old daughter Daniela in front of their home in Newcastle, Utah, on Sept. 15, 2021. The home was damaged in a fire the night before. | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

NEWCASTLE — A fire caused major damage Tuesday evening to a home in the small Iron County community of Newcastle that the homeowner said is older than the town itself.

Homeowner Linsie Umana surveys the damage to her two-story home in Newcastle, Utah, on Sept. 15, 2021, from the fire that happened the night before. | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Iron County Sheriff’s Sgt. David Mitchell said the initial call reporting a structure fire came in at 5:45 p.m. Firefighters from multiple agencies responded, including crews from the Newcastle, Beryl and Enterprise fire departments.

Homeowner Linsie Umana told Cedar City News she was inside the house at the time, along with one of her three daughters.

“I heard a kind of a tapping noise, so I went and opened the door and there were flames everywhere,” Umana said on Wednesday afternoon as she gave Cedar City News a brief tour of the house. Although the building was still standing, extensive fire, smoke and water damage was evident in many areas of the structure.

Mitchell told Cedar City News the fire is believed to have originated from a heat lamp in or near a chicken coop that was on a patio just outside the home’s east entrance.

Umana said she’s not sure whether it was the lamp bulb that overheated or if the fire somehow started where it was plugged into the socket just outside the door.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they worked to contain the rapidly spreading flames. A number of neighbors also rushed over to help, including some with water trucks and heavy equipment.

Umana said later in the evening, some time after the fire was thought to be out, it flared up again in the attic, which resulted in fire crews returning to put more water on it up on the second floor and roof area.

Smoke pours from the attic of a two-story home in Newcastle, Utah, late in the evening of Sept. 14, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Linsie Umana, St. George News / Cedar City News

Umana said that she and her daughter Daniela were able to evacuate safely, along with a pet dog and three cats. However, the 12 baby chicks that were housed in the small coop on the patio all died, she said.

Wednesday afternoon, friends and neighbors were seen in and around the home helping clear out salvageable items and box them up to be temporarily placed in storage.

The house itself was deemed a total loss and will have to be torn down, Umana said, adding that her great-great uncle and aunt built the home more than a century ago, and the two-story structure predated the town of Newcastle itself. Umana and her children have lived there for the past 10 years.

Umana said she and her family plan to stay with nearby relatives while a new home is constructed on the two-acre property.

In a Facebook post made later that evening to the Enterprise Concerned Citizens group, Umana expressed her appreciation for all those who have reached out to help.

“The outpouring of help from this community has been overwhelming,” she wrote. “That’s an understatement. I want to thank everyone individually …. But I don’t think I could begin to get everyone’s name on here. Please know that I am beyond grateful and blessed to live here. I truly can’t thank everyone enough!”

Wednesday afternoon, Umana reiterated her gratitude for all those who have been generously donating clothing, food, household necessities and money.

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