ST. GEORGE – Multiple fire engines were dispatched to a senior apartment complex in St. George Wednesday night for a potential structure fire. The fire was short-lived yet produced a great deal of smoke. The cause of the fire: paper towel rolls being stored in an oven.
A woman living in an apartment at Red Cliffs Manor, 1680 E. 280 North, was cleaning the top of an oven and apparently switched it to “broil” without noticing, St. George Fire Capt. Sam Larson said.
“That started the paper towels on fire,” he said.
The oven door was opened and smoke began to billow from the burning paper towel rolls. Wet towels were placed on the paper towels, though they continued to smoke.
The Fire Department and other emergency responders were dispatched to the scene after a 911 call was received just after 10 p.m.
The fire was primarily contained to the paper towels in the oven, though smoke filled the apartment and also got out in the hallway of that part of the complex, Larson said.
The smoldering paper towels were taken to an outside patio and had water poured on them while firefighters brought in fans to blow out the smoke.
“Everything was mostly just smoke,” Larson said. “All the smoke’s cleared out, but it’s going to smell like smoke for a while.”
No one was injured as a result of the fire, Larson said. Two pet cats in the living in the apartment were also fine, he said.
St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said the Fire Department responded with multiple fire engines – there were at least three or four on scene – due to the potential risk a fire at the apartment complex may have entailed.
“One of our main concerns with these places is the amount of people,” Stoker said. “It’s one of our high-risk occupancies.”
As occupants of Red Cliffs Manor are older, Stoker added, the smoke poses a potential health risk if not removed.
St. George Police and Gold Cross Ambulance also responded to the scene and were subsequently released once it was determined the residents weren’t in danger. Firefighters remained on scene until about 11 p.m.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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