Bystanders keep flames in check, another saves dog when apartment catches fire

ST. GEORGE — An apartment fire that could have spread to multiple units Tuesday was kept in check by four painters working at the complex who contained the blaze until firefighters arrived – while a bystander rescued a dog that was trapped inside.

Firefighters respond to a structure fire at Riverside Apartments, St. George, Utah, March 20, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Firefighters, officers and emergency medical personnel were dispatched to the fire reported at Riverside Apartments at 400 E. Riverside Drive after a bystander called 911 to report flames coming from a downstairs apartment.

Once firefighters gained entry, they were able to extinguish the blaze in less than 20 minutes, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.

The tenants were not home when the fire started, but a dog was discovered inside the apartment. It was quickly carried out of the residence and “appears to be doing well, and we are still monitoring the dog,” the chief said.

When the fire started, four men painting one of the buildings in the same complex observed smoke coming from the apartment, grabbed fire extinguishers and ran to the unit to see if they could help.

The men entered the apartment through a window and began extinguishing the fire that was spreading quickly. They were able to hold the flames back until firefighters arrived.

Firefighters respond to fire at Riverside Apartments, St. George, Utah, March 20, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“Those bystanders were able to keep the fire in check until we were able to get there or this could have been worse,” Stoker said.

Several police officers were on hand to make sure the burning unit was empty. They evacuated surrounding units as a safety  precaution.

The fire was caused by an electrical cord that failed, Stoker said, which ignited the carpet and then spread to the back of the couch and nearby furnishings.

Stoker estimated that approximately $20,000 in damage was caused by the fire, noting that actual damages could be higher.

The unit will take a significant amount of work to restore it to the condition it was prior to the fire.

The residents were displaced as a result.

Four painters working nearby enter apartment and keep fire in check while firefighters respond at Riverside Apartments, St. George, Utah, March 20, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Stoker added that the apartment manager is trying to find a unit that will serve as a temporary home for the tenants until the appropriate repairs can be made to the apartment that burned.

Most of the residents’ belongings remained intact but did sustain significant smoke damage, he said.

Stoker also said that the painting crew did an excellent job of using the extinguishers and, more importantly, they entered the residence making sure they had an exit and were able to back out of the apartment safely.

“If you use those extinguishers, make sure you have an exit so that you don’t become trapped while trying to contain the fire,” Stoker said.

St. George Fire Department, St. George Police Department and Gold Cross Ambulance responded and tended to the scene.

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

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.  

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • comments March 20, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    A failed electric cord igniting carpet? What was the cord powering and was this item running at the time?

    “An apartment fire that could have spread to multiple units Tuesday was kept in check by four painters working at the complex who contained the blaze until firefighters arrived”

    I also tend to think that the painters rather put out the fire than just “kept it in check”.

    Also, it’s absolutely brutal trying to enter a structure that is smoke filled. The fire and heat are one thing, but the smoke is actually the big killer when it comes to fires. Good job to these men here for their selfless act, whether they be legal or not….

    • Striker4 March 21, 2018 at 6:11 am

      LOL ! prophet Bob repeating what’s already been posted in the article just so he has something to say ….oh btw prophet Bob we all know about heat from a fire and how deadly smoke is LOL ! come on man ! ha ha ha ha

      • comments March 21, 2018 at 4:09 pm

        Aww, poor little Dump. Still nothing constructive to say? Still playing the role of the sad autistic troll? Poor Dump 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢. What happened to the nice little Dump that used to go around condoling everyone?

  • Mean Momma March 20, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Those painters are heroes! Good job guys, we need more people willing to do what it takes to help a neighbor out. This is what real heroes look like. Everyday citizens thinking of others before themselves! You guys have my adoration!

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