Time, location of brush fires called ‘suspicious’ by fire chief

Firefighters from St. George and Washington City responded to two fires that appeared within 15 minutes of each other in fields behind Home Depot and Sportsman’s Warehouse of 3050 East on the St. George-Washington City border. St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker has called the circumstances behind the fires “suspicious,” St. George, Utah, May 25, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Firefighters responded to two brush fires on the St. George-Washington City border Thursday night that may have occurred under suspicious circumstances.

Around 10:30 p.m., the Washington City Fire Department was dispatched to a fire in a field behind the Home Depot off 3050 East. Soon after, at 10:45 p.m., another brush fire was reported in the vacant field behind Sportsman’s Warehouse, 2957 E. 850 North, just southwest of the original fire’s location.

Firefighters from St. George and Washington City responded to two fires that appeared within 15 minutes of each other in fields behind Home Depot and Sportsman’s Warehouse of 3050 East on the St. George-Washington City border. St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker has called the circumstances behind the fires “suspicious,” St. George, Utah, May 25, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“Both fires are suspicious,” St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said, the St. George Fire Department having responded to the second fire. “There’s no electrical or anything like that around these areas.”

Due to the close proximity of the fires in time and location, Stoker said, it looked like someone set the fires while passing through the area. It also wouldn’t be the first time someone had lit a fire there either, he said.

“We’ve had a history of that over the years with individuals, whether juveniles or adults,” he said. “(There’s) no suspect information this point, but both fires are suspicious.”

Both fires were extinguished rather quickly. In the case of the fire behind Sportsman’s Warehouse, the fire was put down through the use of fire engine-mounted water cannons that saturated the area.

While these small incidents may not seem like a big deal to some, Stoker said these little brush fires can still be dangerous and put lives and property at risk. The fire behind Sportsman’s Warehouse was very near the building’s loading dock, he said.

“These fires, while they may not seem to do any damage, they put the public at risk and they put our firefighters at risk who respond to them,” Stoker said. “If we are able to to locate the individuals that start fires like these, they are responsible for the (fire) suppression cost.”

Not only that, such individuals are also smacked with the cost of fire damages if their fires – ignited intentionally or otherwise – cause property damage.

The parents of juveniles who start fires are also liable for those costs.

“There can be thousands and thousands of dollars in suppression costs,” Stoker said. “We aggressively go after those.”

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

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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

 

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