ST. GEORGE – A woman was displaced by an early morning blaze Saturday that consumed her home.
Around 1:22 a.m., the St. George Communications Center received a report of a structure fire on Monterey Drive in St. George. While en route to the fire, the firefighters could already see smoke and flames from Dixie Drive and asked for additional units to respond, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.
When they arrived at the scene, they found fire burning through the roof on the rear part of the home. They also found the home’s sole occupant, a woman in her 60s, outside. After tending to the woman who was safe and unharmed, the firefighters turned their full attention to keeping the fire from spreading to nearby homes just a few feet away.
“Our crew did a great job of getting in and protecting (buildings) on both sides (of the home),” Stoker said.
It took about an hour to knock down the fire and get it under control once additional crews arrived, Stoker said.
Due to safety concerns the firefighters did not enter the home while fighting the blaze with the exception of the garage area where the roof looked stable. The majority of the roof had been torched and destroyed by the fire.
“The roof is completely burnt off 90 percent of the building in the rear and in the interior, so it’s a total loss,” Stoker said.
As mop up operations continued, pockets of fire would suddenly spring forth as they were uncovered from concealed spaces in the attic. Those smaller fires were quickly doused by a concentrated blast of water from firefighters below and an extended ladder above.
All the while, smoke continued to billow into the night sky as the lingering embers of the fire were extinguished.
The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental, Stoker said.
“Possibly discarded smoking material is what were being told by the occupant,” he said.
Neighbor Tim Chezem and his wife were outside with others watching the incident unfold. Chezem said a young man on a scooter had been banging on doors in order to get people outside.
By the time they were outside and noticed the fire, their neighbor’s home was fully engulfed in flames, Chezem said.
The woman living in the home was not injured and appeared to be in relatively good spirits despite being displaced by the fire.
Arrangements were being made by the Red Cross to find the woman a place to stay, Stoker said.
While some firefighters were cut loose by 3:30 a.m., others will remain to continue mop up efforts for a few hours, Stoker said. Others will return once the sun is up so they can better inspect the remains of the home.
While the home is a total loss, firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to neighboring structures.
In all, five fire engines, one heavy rescue truck, one ladder truck and 25 firefighters were on hand the combat the fire.
Units of the St. George and Santa Clara-Ivins Police and Gold Cross Ambulance also responded to the scene.
“It’s a tragedy to lose a house, but no lives were lost,” Chezem said. “That’s the important thing.”
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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