Motorhome burns to the ground, 1 man suffers burns

ST. GEORGE – A man was taken to the hospital Tuesday evening after the motorhome he and others were traveling in caught fire while on Interstate 15.

Around 7:20 p.m., a report of a motorhome pulled over and on fire on the shoulder of Exit 36 on northbound I-15 drew a response from multiple agencies.

A motorhome engulfed in flames by the off-ramp for Interstate 15’s Exit 36. The fire injured a 72-year-old man who was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George for care, Washington County, Utah, June 20, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Dick Ladieu, St. George News

The motorhome was engulfed in flames when the Utah Highway Patrol arrived on scene, UHP trooper Jesse Williams said.

“There were six occupants (from the motorhome) when we arrived on scene,” Williams said. “One of the occupants had some burns on his body and had to be transported to the hospital, the other five went with him to be sure he was OK.”

The individual with the burns was identified by New Harmony Assistant Fire Chief Bruce McDonell, as a 72-year-old man. He had sustained third-degree burns on around 10 percent of his body, McDonell said.

While the injuries will “hurt like heck,” McDonell said, the burns overall did not appear life-threatening in his judgment. The others who had been traveling with the man were younger and uninjured, he added.

The man was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center by a Huricane Fire and Rescue ambulance.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown, Williams said.

“(The) driver said they heard a popping noise and there were flames coming from beneath the vehicle,” he said. “They were lucky to get out and not have further injuries.”

The motorhome was burnt down to its frame and is a total loss.

Part of the fire sparked a small brush fire by the Black Ridge/Exit 36 off-ramp that was quickly dealt with by responding wildland firefighters from the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service; the units were dispatched from tending to the remnants of the nearby Snowfield Fire near Exit 33.

The aftermath of a motorhome fire that occurred by the off-ramp for northbound I-15’s Exit 36. The fire injured a 72-year-old man who was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George for care, Washington County, Utah, June 20, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“When we showed up the RV was fully engulfed and there was a grass fire coming off and running down the off-ramp,” said Micah Suwyn, an incident commander with the U.S. Forest Service.

The wildland firefighters were able to put the brief grass fire out before it spread too far.

With Southern Utah currently under a high temperature warning through Thursday, Suwyn reminds motorists to remember just how easy it can be to start a wildfire in these dry and hot conditions.

“People, as they’re driving … need to be careful and watch their vehicles, watch their temperatures.” Suwyn said “If they’re driving trailers (they need to) watch their chains. It’s hot and dry. One spark can start a very large fire.”

This report is based on statements from emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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4 Comments

  • comments June 21, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Turned into a total fireball. Seems in this heat anything will burn.

  • DB June 21, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    I passed by going the other direction when it was in full ‘fireball’ mode. I could feel the heat as I passed by, even though it was some distance away. I think the timing was more like 5:20, not 7:20. Glad everyone made it out. Horrible way to end a vacation.

    • comments June 21, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      a blessing no one was killed, and it sounds like the burn victim will recover.

  • utahdiablo June 22, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Catalytic converters are super hot when driving and if you pull over to the side of the road and park over grass? Your done….flame on

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