Fast-moving blaze spreads through second floor of Washington City home

Fire crews respond to a structure fire involving a two-story residence on the corner of 400 South 100 East in Washington City, Utah, March 2, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — A fire that started in a home that was under renovation in Washington City presented numerous challenges to firefighters as they searched for the source of the fast-moving blaze late into the night Saturday.

Smoke can be seen billowing from a vent near the roof of a home after a fire was reported on the corner of 400 South 100 East in Washington City, Utah, March 2, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

At 8:53 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to the fire on the corner of 400 South 100 East involving a two-story home. Washington City Police officers also responded and cordoned off the street.

The 911 caller reported that a large second-story window was “breached right away with a heavily involved fire” in an upstairs bedroom, Washington City Fire Capt. Julio Reyes said Saturday night.

Firefighters could see flames coming from the bedroom and initiated an aggressive attack on the blaze. Crews initially used water stored in a fire engine, which allowed for a rapid response while a second engine arrived and connected hoses to nearby fire hydrants.

“We hit that fire with tank water first and were able to knock it down pretty quickly,” Reyes said. “… Once we connected to a water source, we were able to knock the fire down within about 9 minutes.”

Crews from St. George Fire Department were also called in to provide mutual aid.

Multiple agencies respond to a fire on the corner of 400 South 100 East in Washington City, Utah, March 2, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

St. George Fire Battalion Chief Darren Imlay was on scene and commented on the speed at which Washington City firefighters were able to extinguish the active flames.

“These guys did a great job in knocking this fire down so quickly,” Imlay said.

With the flames suppressed, firefighters entered the residence and began to overhaul the upstairs area where the fire was first reported, tearing down insulation and other materials to access the source of the smoke that continued billowing from a large vent near the roof.

The high-vaulted ceilings coupled with the interior structure’s sharp angles presented a number of challenges that made it difficult to access the areas that continued to smolder.

Reyes explained that the home had undergone more than one renovation before the current owner moved in, which added to the amount and variety of materials that crews had to clear in order to find and extinguish any remaining hot spots.

Smoke continues to billow from the roof area of a home during a fire reported on the corner of 400 South 100 East in Washington City, Utah, March 2, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly before the fire started, Reyes said the homeowner was either painting or staining the interior.

After going downstairs to take a break from the renovation work, the homeowner heard several smoke alarms going off. When he ran upstairs to find out what triggered the alarms, he could see flames coming from the bedroom, at which point he called 911 and quickly exited the home.

Once outside, Reyes said the homeowner could see thick black smoke coming from the breached window frame of the bedroom that was by then engulfed in flames.

The home sustained extensive smoke and fire damage, but no injuries to firefighters or civilians were reported.

The homeowner was the only one at the residence when the fire was reported, the cause of which remains under investigation as of Sunday afternoon.

Personnel from Washington City Fire Department, St. George Fire Department, Washington City Police Department and Gold Cross Ambulance responded and tended to the scene.

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

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Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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