ST. GEORGE — An explosion and fire that erupted in a home garage Wednesday night blew out a garage door and filled the house with smoke.
Just before 8 p.m. firefighters and emergency personnel were dispatched to a possible structure fire that was reported in the 2800 South block near Little Valley Road in St. George, St. George Fire Battalion Chief Robert Hooper said.
Three fire engines responded along with 15 firefighters, which is standard procedure when a structure fire page is issued.
But this was no regular structure fire, Hooper said.
“Initially this was reported as a structure fire in the garage,” Hopper said, “but upon arrival we found that the garage door was blown completely out, and severely damaged by what appeared to have been an explosion.”
Light smoke was seen coming out of the garage by firefighters as they arrived on scene, but once they entered the area they learned the fire was extinguished by the homeowner with a garden hose right after he heard the explosion.
“It was basically out by the time we arrived,” the battalion chief said.
The homeowner told Hooper that several battery chargers and a small propane tank had been sitting on top of the workbench in the garage before the explosion.
“There wasn’t much of the fire left, because the explosion actually put most of it out,” Hooper said.
Large ventilation fans were set up to remove smoke from inside of the home, while firefighters checked the perimeter of the garage and the attic area for any active flames or residual embers. Nothing was found.
Questar Gas was also called in to check for any gas leaks, Hooper said, just to make sure the explosion wasn’t caused by gas leaking and to check for any damage that could have been caused by the incident.
Two ambulances were dispatched to the home as well, the battalion chief said, to check the occupants for smoke inhalation since the house was full of smoke when responders arrived. All were checked and cleared with only minor injuries.
“We know it started in the area of the workbench,” Hooper said, “but we haven’t determined the exact cause of the explosion since the investigation is still ongoing.”
Hooper said it was fortunate that the garage was vacant when the blast occurred, or the outcome could have been very different.
“If anyone would have been in that garage at the time of the explosion then they could have been seriously injured, so we are lucky this turned out the way it did,” he said.
The St. George Fire Department and Gold Cross Ambulance responded and tended to the scene.
According to a 2015 report released by the National Fire Protection Agency, the total number of fires reported in the U.S. has been on a downward trend over the last 15 years, however the number of structure fires reported has remained “relatively” consistent.
More than 1.3 million fires were reported in the United States in 2015, which amounts to one every 23 seconds, the agency reported. Additionally, 500,000 of those reported were structure fires, or one every 63 seconds. Approximately 15,000 people suffered fire-related injuries in 2015 and nearly 3,300 people died from their injuries.
The report also shows that structure fires account for 78 percent of all fire-related deaths.
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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