Super-hot blaze burns unfinished home in Hildale to the ground

Firefighters tackle a structure fire burning an unfinished home in Hildale, Utah, Jan. 11, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Hildale/Colorado City Fire Department, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An unfinished home burned to the ground in Hildale Friday afternoon after a debris-clearing fire ignited the side of the structure. As the building burned, the radiant heat emitted from the blaze was so intense it damaged fire equipment and a nearby structure.

Firefighters tackle a structure fire burning an unfinished home in Hildale, Utah, Jan. 11, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Hildale/Colorado City Fire Department, St. George News

The structure fire was reported near the corner of Newell Avenue and Canyon Street in Hildale involving a two-story residence where construction was never completed, Hildale/Colorado City Fire Chief Kevin Barlow said.

The homeowner was burning yard debris on the side of the house, and “he thought he was far enough away, but it caught the side of the structure on fire,” Barlow said.

Fire crews arrived to find the home completely engulfed in flames and began a defensive attack on the blaze, which was spreading “very quickly,” Barlow said.

Firefighters tackle a structure fire burning an unfinished home in Hildale, Utah, Jan. 11, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Hildale/Colorado City Fire Department, St. George News

“It was very old wood that was all exposed, and within a matter of minutes, it was totally involved in fire,” he said.

Fire crews using a track hoe knocked down the remaining walls for safety and then stirred the debris around to extinguish the blaze completely.

“There was nothing salvageable there, so we were focused on getting the fire out without causing further damage,” Barlow said.

The fire burned so hot that the radiant heat damaged a nearby home and vehicle. It also caused extensive damage to the light covers, nylon netting and other materials on the department’s fire trucks, even melting the seat in one of the trucks.

“The trucks were parked on the other side of the street and weren’t even close,” Barlow noted. “So it burned very hot.”

A two-story unfinished home burns in Hildale, Utah, Jan. 11, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Hildale/Colorado City Fire Department, St. George News

Hurricane Valley Fire District was also dispatched to the fire, but while en route, crews were diverted to a call involving a significant rollover reported on state Route 59 near mile marker 13, Barlow said.

The crash involved three vehicles and a family visiting from China, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Larry Mower said.

The family was heading eastbound on SR-59 in a passenger car when a minivan following directly behind them crossed over into the westbound lane to pass the vehicle, Mower said.

The driver in the passenger car became confused, and thinking that both lanes were eastbound lanes when he saw the minivan cross over the median, the passenger car also crossed over into the westbound lane.

Once the minivan returned to the eastbound lane, the driver in the passenger car realized he was heading into oncoming traffic.

The driver attempted to return to the eastbound lane, Mower said, but clipped an oncoming vehicle as he did so. The passenger car then spun around and clipped the minivan before it went into a rollover.

Mower said one of the passengers visiting from China sustained a “pretty large laceration to her forehead” when her head struck the booster seat that was occupied by the couple’s 6-year-old child, who was uninjured in the crash.

The woman was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center to be treated for the laceration, and one of the occupants in the minivan was also transported “as a precaution,” Mower said.

Once the crash was cleared, the Hurricane Valley Fire crew continued on to Hildale and assisted with the structure fire cleanup, Barlow said.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • Carpe Diem January 13, 2019 at 6:16 am

    An “unfinished home” built with “very old wood”… The City is full of them, and they are fire hazards, obviously. Rotten to the core, like Warren Jeffs and quite a few others out there. One by one they are meelllting… meelllttingggg….

  • Comment January 13, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    By plyg standards the house was completely finished. There’s a reason they leave them like that. Look into it if you’re curious…

    • Carpe Diem January 13, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      YUP. But the reasons vary. A couple of decades ago, Mohave County wouldn’t start taxing it as a residence until there was an occupancy permit issued… which for some reason was never applied for. oops! They caught on, and started taxing them anyway. Then, these are often unfinished, “Built in a few Weekends” in a Church barn-building exercise and they never get around to the finishing touches. That, and the fact there was no lender / builder / appraiser to testify of completion or ensure it’s done proper. Maybe the unfinished, trashy look helps members feel better about skating on tithes. Regardless, a drive up and down the streets makes one feel out-of-place, the unkempt yards and whacky construction fails make it look like Mexico. There isn’t any pride of ownership out there.

  • LunchboxHero January 14, 2019 at 10:37 am

    I’m with Carpe. Aren’t all the homes in Hildale unfinished?

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