Roof of St. George home collapses as firefighters battle blaze

ST. GEORGE — The roof of a burning St. George home collapsed as firefighters battled an early morning blaze Tuesday and rescued a dog trapped inside the residence in the process.

The roof of a home collapsed as firefighters battled an early morning blaze on the 1400 East block of 1850 South, St. George, Utah, March 14, 2017 | Photo courtesy by Mike Cole, St. George News

At approximately 4:45 a.m., neighbors of a home on the 1400 East block of 1850 South, just off River Road, called 911 to report a structure fire, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.

“Smoke detectors went off, woke the occupant up and he was able to exit the building,” Stoker said. “He stated there was quite a bit of smoke and fire coming from (the west) end of the home.”

Upon arrival at the scene, fire crews found flames spreading out the front bedroom window.

“When our first engines arrived, we attacked the fire defensively from the outside and got the fire knocked down,” Stoker said. “As we were doing that, we had a roof collapse over that bedroom.”

A dog caught in a burning home and rescued by firefighters suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and was given oxygen through a pet oxygen mask, St. George, Utah, March 14, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the St. George Fire Department, St. George News

Once firefighters got the fire knocked down, crews went inside to conduct a primary search and verify no one was still inside the home, as well as carry out a fire attack on the lower level of the home. Second crews then went in and conducted a search on the second floor.

During the search, a pet dog was found in the home and brought out by fire crews, Stoker said, noting that the dog suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation and  was “very disoriented.”

With the assistance of Gold Cross Ambulance paramedics at the scene, firefighters were able to give the dog oxygen with the pet oxygen masks recently provided by the Emma Zen Foundation.

“The dog’s doing well now, reunited with the owner and doesn’t seem to have any other effects from smoke inhalation,” Stoker said.

Firefighters also found fire in the lower attic, Stoker said, noting that a sheet rock wall between the attic on the lower section of the home above the burning bedroom and the vaulted ceiling in the middle of the home held the fire from spreading farther through the attic.

Fire crews went in and did a secondary search and extinguished the remaining areas of fire.

The roof of a home collapsed as firefighters battled an early morning blaze on the 1400 East block of 1850 South, St. George, Utah, March 14, 2017 | Photo courtesy by Mike Cole, St. George News

“We do have quite extensive smoke and heat damage throughout the home, so we’ve had all utilities shut off to the home,” Stoker said. “Red Cross responded and has taken care of the occupants for the next few days until they can get settled on their own.”

While the cause of the fire is not yet known as of this report, Stoker said interviews with the homeowner and his adult son provided leads to several areas firefighters need to examine that may help determine the fire’s origin.

The homeowner suffered minor smoke inhalation and was treated by medical personnel at the scene, Stoker said.

If it wasn’t for working smoke detectors, I believe this would have been a lot different situation,” Stoker said. “(The homeowner) was asleep and stated he was jolted awake by the sound of the smoke detectors going off.”

Batteries should be changed in all smoke detectors at least twice a year, Stoker said, adding that Daylight Savings Time is an ideal time for people to remember to do that.

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

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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