Man jumps from trailer after it bursts into flames at Red Rock Auto Sales

After the fire was extinguished the trailer sits behind Red Rock Auto Sales, located at 176 W. St. George Blvd. in St. George, Utah, Nov. 29, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — St. George firefighters extinguished a detail trailer after it became completely engulfed in flames Saturday morning in the back lot of Red Rock Auto Sales.

Just after 11 a.m., Ultimate Detailing Manager Brett Fife and employee Nicole Morgan had just made their first stop of the day to wash cars at Red Rock Auto Sales, located at 176 W. St. George Blvd., when their day took a turn for the worst.

“The pressure washer was bogging down and so I called to Brett for fuel,” Morgan said. “He went and was putting in some fuel and some of it dropped onto the muffler and boom it started on fire.”

After the fire was extinguished the trailer sits behind Red Rock Auto Sales, located at 176 W. St. George Blvd. in St. George, Utah, Nov. 29, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News
After the fire was extinguished the trailer sits behind Red Rock Auto Sales, located at 176 W. St. George Blvd. in St. George, Utah, Nov. 29, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

The pressure washer was inside of the detailing trailer at the time and once the pressure washer ignited, the gas can caught on fire, then a generator caught on fire and then the whole trailer became engulfed in flames, Morgan said.

Fife was holding the gas can when it ignited, which burned his right fore arm, and he said he dropped the gas can and started to try to pull the pressure washer out.

“It was like being in Backdraft or something, when the guy opens the door and it’s just a huge wall of flames,” Fife said, “except, without the door.”

In order to get out of the trailer, Fife had to jump through the flames which singed his beard and melted his fleece pants.

“I was crying. I ran and grabbed a hose but there was a hole in it. That’s what all that water is over there,” Morgan said pointing to a lengthy puddle.

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Fife unhooked the trailer from the back of a gold pickup truck and Red Rock Auto Sales employees began to move some of the nearby cars away from the trailer. The backend of the trailer was situated just north of a power line and once the trailer caught on fire, the flames were as high as the power lines said Red Rock Auto Sales Owner Josh Williams.

St. George Fire Department and St. George police officers responded to the scene.

There was some concern that the flames may have reached the power lines but they were undamaged, said St. George Fire Capt. Clayton Hullinger.

“We knocked the fire down within a couple minutes,” Hullinger said. “We used one and a half hose line and about 400 gallons of water.”

Three vehicles in the lot were slightly damaged from the heat of the flames. The trailer was towed.

“I’ve never experienced anything quite like that,” Fife said. “I guess you never know exactly what it would be like until you’re jumping out of a burning trailer.”

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

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

 

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13 Comments

  • KOOLAID November 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    did these employees try filling up the pressure washer while it was running? i mean….

    • PROTECT THE SHEEP November 29, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      that’s what it sounds like. Never heard of gas igniting from just muffler heat. Usually takes a more direct form of ignition like holding a cig in the hand while pouring gas…

  • PROTECT THE SHEEP November 29, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    or sparks from the exhaust of a running machine… doesn’t help to use an empty milk jug as a gas can either… 😉

  • Zonkerb November 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    That was my first question too

  • Weber November 29, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Koolaid, the power washer ran out of gas and had shut off.

    • KOOLAID November 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      well bogging down doesn’t necessarily mean shut off. so i wasn’t sure about it. but if you know more details please share.

  • jason November 29, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    It is probably a scam, overpriced and mediocre work they perform.

  • 2nd to last paragraph November 30, 2014 at 8:03 am

    you’re*

  • Koolaid November 30, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Fire sale?

    • PROTECT THE SHEEP November 30, 2014 at 11:25 am

      we’ll do a combo fire sale / #fundraiser

  • My Evil Twin December 1, 2014 at 6:56 am

    I wonder if Mr. Fife has any idea just how lucky he is? Hope he will learn from this in working around engines and gasoline!

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