An intense thunderstorm was passing over the area just before the home caught fire, and several witnesses reported seeing lightning strikes near the 6,145-square-foot home located at 2284 E. 3970 South in the Little Valley area.
At approximately 8:53 p.m., St. George Fire crews responded to the scene as the home quickly became engulfed in flames. The large home actively burned for several hours as firefighters worked to knock down the flames.
The homeowners and their children were out of town on a camping trip with no cellphone reception at the time of the fire, said Sherrie Hall, a sister of one of the homeowners.
“(They) just took the kids on a little camping trip before school started,” Hall said. “They don’t know yet. We’ve been trying to find them.”
The house was unoccupied except for a pet dog found on the backyard patio. The dog was quickly rescued and turned over to extended family members for care.
“The firemen were amazing, I have to say,” Hall said. “They went in and saved some things that were very special in the middle of the night so, that was amazing.”
Firefighters were still on scene at 1 p.m. Friday checking for any hot spots that could potentially flare back up.
Neighbors had begun tying purple ribbons on trees in the homeowner’s yard Friday morning as a show of love and support for the family.