Family has fire scare when house fills up with smoke

A family's home fills with smoke after an HVAC blower motor goes out, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

ST.  GEORGE – A mother and two children had a scare Tuesday evening as their St. George home filled up with smoke and they were forced to evacuate the house and call for help.

Fire crews responded to a call on 300 West in St. George at about 6:45 p.m. The first fire crew to arrive at the scene entered the house in full gear, prepared for the worst.

A family's home fills with smoke after an HVAC blower motor goes out, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
A family’s home fills with smoke after an HVAC blower motor goes out, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

However, responders found the cause of the smoke was a blower motor in the family’s furnace that had gone out, sending heavy smoke into the house. But while there was no actual fire, Deputy St. George Fire Chief Kevin Taylor said residents should never hesitate to call 911 if they suspect a blaze.

“They were a little worried about calling us, thinking it wasn’t a big deal,” Taylor said, “but we’d just as soon people call and be on the safe side.”

The most damage can happen when residents wait to call because they think they can handle the situation themselves or that it isn’t a big deal, Taylor said.

“And then it becomes a big deal, and then there’s more damage and more risk to life,” St. George Fire Department Battalion Chief Ken Guard said.

A family's home fills with smoke after an HVAC blower motor goes out, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
A family’s home fills with smoke after an HVAC blower motor goes out, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

The woman’s husband was not home when the house started filling with smoke but, over the phone, urged his wife to call the Fire Department, Guard said.

People have actually delayed making the initial call during some of the more significant fires that have happened in St. George,  Taylor said, and that delay increases both the property damage and the danger to a building’s occupants.

It’s much better to have fire crews check out any possible source of smoke, Guard said.

“We can kind of give them that expertise,” he said. “We’re not going to fix the blower motor, but we can say, ‘You know what, that’s what it is; call an HVAC or mechanical guy and have them come out and fix it.'”

A family's home fills with smoke after an HVAC blower motor goes out, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
A family’s home fills with smoke after an HVAC blower motor goes out, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

Firefighters used fans to clear out the smoke, then checked the house for carbon monoxide.

“Anytime there’s a possibility of some type of combustion or some type of a gas leak or something like that, then we will check (carbon monoxide) just to be safe,” Guard said.

While the family was waiting out in front of their home for the fire crews to finish up, a firefighter gave each of the two small children a toy firefighter’s helmet.

Five fire engines and 30 to 35 firefighters responded to the blaze, along with Gold Cross Ambulance.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • CaliGirl October 14, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Eh, you may want to have another run at “While the family was waiting our in front of their home for the firefighters to finish up, a firefighter gave the two small children each a toy firefighter’s helmet.”

  • Julie Applegate Julie Applegate October 14, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Thank you, that has been corrected.
    Julie Applegate
    St. George News

  • fun bag October 14, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    one more reason not to cook meth in the house

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