ST. GEORGE – Firefighters responded to a short-lived brush fire just off 3050 East Wednesday afternoon that fire officials are calling suspicious.
St. George firefighters were alerted to a possible structure fire behind the Fox Cove subdivision on 450 North south of Costco around 3:20 p.m., St. George Fire Battalion Chief Darren Imlay said.
When firefighters arrived on scene they encountered “heavy black smoke and fairly large flames,” Imlay said.
The fire was burning along the property line in back of a commercial property on 3050 East. A large block wall prevented the fire from spreading into the subdivision.
Fortunately the would-be structure fire was found to be a brush fire that responding firefighters from St. George and Washington City were able to extinguish before any damage was done to nearby homes or storage trailers kept on the commercial property.
Firefighters were also able to douse the blaze before it threatened an overhead power line or spread to power poles.
As for the cause of the fire, it has yet to be determined, Imlay said. However, the circumstances don’t exactly appear accidental, he said.
“It was suspicious,” Imlay said. “Fires like that don’t start on their own normally.”
Witnesses told firefighters they saw some juveniles in the area around the same time as the fire, but did not see just who might have started it.
The City of St. George is fairly aggressive about going after individuals who start fires, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker previously told St. George News.
While each incident is treated on a case-by-case basis, individuals who cause fires are subject to court-imposed fees and fire suppression costs.
Fire suppression cost is broken down into an hourly rate, Stoker said.
A single fire engine can run $198, while a ladder truck runs $210 an hour. As for the personnel, a single firefighter can run $36 an hour. So if a fire engine is called out to a fire for an hour and brings six firefighters, the cost of that single hour will run $414.
However, as fire calls often draw multiple fire trucks and a swarm of firefighters who may remain on scene for multiple hours, that price tag can easily skyrocket.
There is also the possibility of being taken to civil court and sued to cover the cost of any property damage caused by the fire.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
Ed. Note: An error concerning the total dolloar amount a single fire engine and six firefighters would cost for an hour’s time of fire suppression efforts has been corrected.
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