ST. GEORGE — A family quickly evacuated their home when a fire broke out in their basement Wednesday, prompting a heavy response from the St. George Fire Department and filling nearly a city block with emergency crews and trucks.
Just after 6 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire reported in the 1100 block of Wesley Powell Drive in the Bloomington area, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.
Upon arrival emergency personnel found flames coming from a basement window, he said, and with smoke filling the residence.
The home’s occupants quickly evacuated before firefighters arrived, Stoker said, and were able to get out safely.
As fire crews entered the building they found an active fire in the basement area, which had started in a bedroom and then spread to several other rooms.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze in approximately 15 minutes. Two teams went through the residence to clear the home to be certain nobody else was there. No injuries were reported.
“Even though we’d already been told there were no other occupants,” Stoker said, “we always want to make sure the home is in fact clear.”
Firefighters also searched for an iguana that was reportedly still in the basement area of the home, he said. The reptile was located in a tank seemingly unharmed and turned over to the family.
The home sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage, although most of it was concentrated in the basement area.
The homeowner told officials the basement was being treated and dried out because of some flooding in that area of the home, when the fire started.
Stoker said no heaters were being used to dry the basement out. Instead they found circular and area fans that appeared to be in good working order.
It is too early in the investigation to determine the fire’s cause, however it appears to be accidental and not associated with the restoration equipment being used at the time, he said.
Eight fire trucks responded to the scene in addition to more firefighters than normal due to the weather and high temperatures.
“We have to rotate our crews,” Stoker said, “so they don’t overheat.”
A heavy rescue fire truck accompanied the fleet of trucks that responded to the house fire. The truck is known as the Southwest Regional Response Team’s Special Operations truck and is equipped with gear and equipment used for automobile extractions, ropes and climbing equipment for search and rescue operations and any incident where hazardous materials are involved, Stoker said.
Additionally, it comes equipped with a large safety light that extends 10 feet into the air and includes four 500-watt bulbs and an air cascade system that can be used to fill the firefighters’ tanks on site.
The heavy rescue truck, which can be used throughout the region, was purchased through a federal grant, Stoker said. The region consists of the five counties in southwestern Utah, which includes Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington counties.
The St. George Fire and Police departments and Gold Cross Ambulance responded to the scene.
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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