Officials say recent HVAC work likely the cause of fire at home near St. George Golf Club

ST. GEORGE — Multiple fire engines and ladder trucks lined a quiet residential street just south of the St. George Golf Club early Wednesday morning after a resident called 911 reporting smoke coming from the roof area.

Firefighters working in garage area check for fire extensions following a structure fire reported on South Bloomington Hills Drive, St. George, Utah, Sept. 29, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Multiple engines arrived at the residence on South Bloomington Hills Drive shortly before 6:30 a.m. and confirmed the smoke coming from the roof.

St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said the fire appeared to have started in the attic above a laundry room just off the garage and then spread to a number of trusses just above the garage. The family was able to evacuate the home safely and were waiting outside when fire crews arrived.

Firefighters broke through the ceiling where they found active flames that had burned completely through a number of eaves. They extinguished the blaze shortly after arriving and began the task of overhauling the area in search of burning embers, including pulling material from the scorched area to extinguish any areas still smoldering and prevent a reignition that could cause a secondary fire.

Stoker went on to tell St. George News there was recent work done in the attic where the HVAC system was located, an area that appears to have been the point of origin for the fire, which continued to smolder for some time before spreading to other support trusses.

“It looked like there may have been some air conditioning work that had taken place in the attic,” Stoker said.

Despite the fire being reported at 6:30 a.m., fire investigators have reason to believe the fire actually started much earlier based on the significant damage to a number of the trusses the were burned through, a process that likely would have taken a significant amount of time.

Fortunately, Stoker said, the homeowner noticed discoloration from scorching on several of the walls inside of the home and then smelled smoke as the power cut off, at which point they went outside to investigate and noticed smoke coming from the vents near the roof and called 911.

It was fortunate the homeowner noticed the signs and checked outside, he said, since the roof can hold in the fire, banking down heat and smoke into lower floors, while leaving the active flames confined to the attic where they can burn for an extended period of time before breaching the interior of the structure.

In addition to the structural damage from the burned trusses, the home also sustained some smoke damage, as well as the damage that resulted from firefighters breaching through to access the flames burning in the attic.

Stoker said the residents will stay with family members until repairs can be made. The homes on either side of the affected residence were also evacuated as a precaution; however, the adjacent homes were left undamaged, and no injuries were reported.

The St. George Fire Department, St. George Police Department, Gold Cross Ambulance and Dominion Energy responded to the scene. This report is based on statements from police, emergency personnel or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.  

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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