Fire in Washington City considered suspicious

WASHINGTON CITY — A fire that engulfed a vacant, boarded-up home Wednesday night is being called suspicious by fire officials.

The Washington City Fire Department, along with fire crews from Hurricane and St. George, respond to a fire at a vacant, boarded-up home on Cactus Lane. Due to the home being unoccupied and other factors, fire officials consider the fire potentially suspicious in nature, Washington City, Utah, April 3, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Around 9:25 p.m. the Washington City Fire Department was alerted to a possible structure fire on Cactus Lane after a neighbor called it in, Washington City Fire Capt. Julio Reyes said.

“A resident reported there was heavy smoke in the area of an abandoned building,” he said.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, it was determined the fire was “fully involved” on the inside of the home, which Reyes said added to the suspicious nature of the fire due to no one living there are the time. Power and utility services to the building had also previously been shut off.

“It’s abandoned, it’s boarded up, and it doesn’t make sense there would be any heat source running through there right now,” Reyes said, adding that the windows had been secured with boards and plywood, which would’ve made it hard to access the inside.

“When we arrived there was no obvious signs of forced entry,” he said. “It looked pretty difficult for someone to get in there without it looking obvious.”

The Washington City Fire Department, along with fire crews from Hurricane and St. George, respond to a fire at a vacant, boarded-up home on Cactus Lane. Due to the home being unoccupied and other factors, fire officials consider the fire potentially suspicious in nature, Washington City, Utah, April 3, 2019 | Photo courtesy of LeeAnn Draper, St. George News

Firefighters had to tear through the boards and plywood on the windows and doors of the building in order to gain access to the interior so they could get water on the fire.

Aiding the Washington City Fire Department in extinguishing the fire were fire crews from St. George and Hurricane.

While the fire appears suspicious, Reyes said it’s too soon to determine the specific cause of the fire.

The fire died down around 11:30 p.m., at which point St. George fire crews were released from the scene. Washington City units remained on hand to put out leftover hot spots.

Once fire officials are satisfied there aren’t any lingering hot spots inside the building, firefighters will enter the charred husk and begin investigating the potential origins of the fire.

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

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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

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