Fire displaces residents; dog rescued

WASHINGTON CITY – Two apartments were rendered uninhabitable Thursday evening by a fire on the second floor of the condominium complex.

Firefighters respond to the La Venita Condominiums in Washington City, Utah, July 5, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Units of the Washington City Fire Department were sent to the La Venita Condominiums at 700 N. Main Street around 5:20 p.m. following the report of a second-floor balcony fire, Washington City Fire Captain Julio Reyes said.

Prior to firefighters’ arrival, area resident Matthew Hill was outside working on his car with a friend when they saw smoke coming from behind one of the buildings nearby and went to investigate.

“The whole balcony was completely in flames,” Hill said.

He and his friend waved down a passing police officer and knocked on the door of the apartment where the fire was. Two juveniles and an adult male and female were in the apartment and some of them became “pretty hysterical,” Hill said.

The four evacuated the apartment as Hill and his friend knocked on other doors to alert others.

At one point the man who lived in the apartment went back in with an extinguisher to try putting out the fire and was able to knock it down some by the time firefighters arrived.

“It did cause him some injuries,” Reyes said of the man’s attempt to extinguish the fire, which he added the man had done a “decent job” of doing.

Medics told Reyes the man was treated for moderate burns on one of his arms, though was uncertain if he was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center for any additional care.

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Once firefighters arrived, Reyes said, “We were able to put that fire out pretty quickly.”

Getting to the fire from the outside with a hose proved somewhat difficult due to how compact the area was, Reyes said, which resulted in firefighters taking a fire hose through the apartment’s front door.

The majority of the fire damage was contained to the second floor balcony and exterior, with some moderate smoke damage believed to be around the door by the kitchen, Reyes said.

He estimated the majority of the damage caused to the second floor apartment, as well as the apartment directly beneath it, was caused by water damage. The apartment complex has internal sprinklers that went off in both units as the fire grew.

Jazmine and Lucio Torres hold their dog, Kobe, who was rescued from their apartment during a fire at the La Venita Condominiums. The couple was not home when the fire broke out, Washington City, Utah, July 5, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Some of the ceiling in the second-story apartment was also torn down so firefighters could make sure the fire hadn’t gone into the attic.

Due to the damage, the two apartments have been rendered uninhabitable for the time being. Reyes was unable to immediately estimate the cost of the damage.

No one was home in the ground-floor apartment when the fire occurred.

The fire is believed to have started on the balcony, though the exact cause is unknown and under investigation.

A dog was also evacuated from the apartments and appeared to be doing fine, Reyes said.

Washington City Police and Gold Cross Ambulance also responded to the scene.

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

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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

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