UPDATED: Investigators say Moab fire was ‘human caused,’ offer $1,000 reward

ST. GEORGE — A devastating fire destroyed eight homes in the southeastern Utah city of Moab Tuesday evening, displacing dozens of residents.

Fire burns in the Pack Creek area near Millcreek Drive, Moab, Utah, June 12, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Tami Woodruff, St. George News

Update June 15, 1:20 p.m. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office, after determining that the Cinema Court fire was “human caused” is offering a $1,000 reward to any information leading to the arrest of the individual or individuals responsible for starting the fire.

The blaze started as a brush fire in a heavily wooded area along Pack Creek and spread to nearby residences, Fire Chief Phil Mosher of the Moab Valley Fire Department said during a news conference Tuesday night.

From its suspected point of origin west of the Cinema Court apartment complex on Millcreek Drive, the blaze soon spread to a residential neighborhood north of Holyoak Lane, the fire department reported.

Dozens of people were evacuated from the the surrounding area while firefighters battled the blaze amid high temperatures and gusty winds.

Moab city officials reported the fire was 75 percent contained at 8:10 p.m. Tuesday, approximately two hours after it started. By 9:30 p.m., it was fully contained, with crews remaining on scene throughout the night to continue watering down hot spots.

The blaze reportedly consumed nine acres. Firefighters and emergency personnel from several agencies responded to the incident.

Fire burns in the Pack Creek area near Millcreek Drive, Moab, Utah, June 12, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Tami Woodruff, St. George News

In addition to the eight homes, two parking canopies and a shop/garage were also burned, officials reported, adding that all the affected buildings are considered a total loss.

No serious injuries were reported, but five firefighters and a few others were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and signs of heat exhaustion.

The cause of the fire had not been determined as of late Tuesday, Grand County Sheriff Steve White said during a late night news conference held at Moab City Hall and streamed live on Moab City’s Facebook page

Hundreds of homes in the Moab area were temporarily without power during Tuesday night’s fire, but electricity has since been restored to nearly all customers.

Many community members have reportedly rallied to help those affected by the fire, including offering food, water, clothing and shelter. Evacuees were being directed to shelter areas at a nearby bowling alley and at a local senior center. Assistance efforts are being coordinated by the Red Cross. At least three local motels also offered up available vacant rooms to displaced residents.

Aftermath of June 12 fire that burned in the Pack Creek area near Millcreek Drive, Moab, Utah, June 13, 2018 | Photo courtesy of David Olsen, St. George News

“It’s hot and dry out there,” Mosher said, reminding residents to use extreme caution with fireworks, cigarettes, and other ignition sources

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox is reportedly planning to visit the burned area at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday to discuss relief efforts with local officials.

Relief efforts underway

According to a news release issued Wednesday morning by Moab City Police Department, city and county officials are working to coordinate relief and cleanup efforts.

  • Families or individuals who have been displaced as a result of the fire are directed to the Moab Valley Fire Department, 45 S. 100 East, where Red Cross representatives will be available to assist with short-term needs. An informational meeting has been scheduled for noon Wednesday at the fire station.
  • In addition, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office has requested that anyone who experienced a loss of property in the fire should file a report with their office at 25 S. 100 East.
  • An account called “Cinema Court Fire” has been established at Grand County Credit Union to accept monetary donations for those impacted by the fire.
  • Residents are asked to hold off on donations of tangible items, such as household items and clothing, at least for now. “There will be a time for them and when that time comes, we will provide you with information about what is needed and how to donate it,” the news release states. 

Check Moab City’s Facebook page for further updates.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • mmsandie June 13, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    I feel bad for these people but why don’t the6 have homeowners insurance or renters insurance, everybody thinks friends and church are going to support them.. of course they help, but everyone thinks it will neve4 happen to 5hem so why buy insurance.. I,ve lived in homes and car insurance for 55 yrs with one small claim, but you have to plan for the unexpected.

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