News short: Controlled burn fries utility lines

A controlled burn Thursday morning burned a utility box in Washington City, Utah, March 24, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY – A controlled burn engulfed a utility box in Washington City Thursday morning, raising concerns about potential power outages.

A controlled burn Thursday morning burned a utility box in Washington City, Utah, March 24, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
A controlled burn Thursday morning burned a utility box in Washington City, Utah, March 24, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

The St. George Dispatch Center received the call at 9:44 a.m. A property owner was attempting to burn weeds in an empty lot west of Cottonmill Avenue at about 700 East Telegraph Street in Washington.

“The owners of the property were going to do a little cleanup, they got their burn permit and started burning weeds,” Washington City Fire Chief Brent Hafen said. “But there’s a pedestal there that has cables in it, and that cable is plastic or fiberglass and it burned.”

The property owners didn’t realize the cable was there, Hafen said. Firefighters couldn’t tell what company or utility the box belongs to.  Rocky Mountain Power responded to the scene, as did TDS Telecom, however, the burned cables did not belong to either company.

Hafen said the cable box may belong to CenturyLink, but that was not yet known, and it is unclear whether any service interruptions were caused by the fire.

“We encourage people when they get (burn) permits, they’re supposed to put stuff in piles like this, rather than just trying to burn (weeds) out in the open,” Hafen said. Piles of weeds burn better and can help avoid burning what may be hidden in the weeds.

The property owner can be held liable for the damage to the cable box, Hafen said.

Since the firefighters were already on scene, they helped the landowner finish clearing weeds.

“This is not that big of a project, but for (the property owner) and his wife, it’s a little overwhelming so we just decided to help them out and do it for them,” Hafen said.

“It’ll take us a half-hour and we can get it done it would have taken (the property owner) two days.”

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, 2016, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • ladybugavenger March 24, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Oops! And nice job firefighters!

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