Dogs wake resident as fire engulfs home in Hurricane

HURRICANE — A man awoke to flames and smoke inside of his home after his two dogs sounded the alarm early Saturday morning. It was the second house fire to occur in the same Hurricane neighborhood in as many days.

Hurricane Valley Fire District responds to a structure fire involving a single-story home on 100 West, Hurricane, Utah, April 20, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly before 6 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire on 100 West in Hurricane involving a single-story residence with one occupant who was able to get out of the home on his own, Hurricane Valley Fire Chief Tom Kuhlmann said.

“The homeowner was woken up by his dogs and found that the front of his house was fully involved in flames,” Kuhlmann said.

The resident suffered some minor burn injuries to his face while evacuating through the living room due to the extreme heat from the flames.

Arriving firefighters quickly entered the home and began a “fast attack” to knock down the flames, which were threatening to spread to the rear of the residence after burning through the front of the house.

Fire crews got the fire under control quickly and then began the process of overhauling the building, which entails opening walls, ceilings and partitions to check for fire extensions or spaces where the fire may have spread. That process continued well into Saturday.

The interior of a home is extensively damaged due to a structure fire reported on 100 West in Hurricane, Utah, April 20, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Orion Parker and Kristin Kelly, St. George News

The man’s two dogs also evacuated with the resident and were not injured in the fire. However, firefighters found one of the resident’s cats deceased inside the home, and a second cat was missing.

The resident was in shock immediately after the fire and was being looked after by medical crews on scene from Hurricane Valley Fire District.

An American Red Cross Disaster Action Team member also responded to assist the resident, who was displaced by the fire. The two dogs will be housed at the Hurricane Animal Shelter until other accommodations can be arranged.

The fire did not appear to be suspicious in nature, Kuhlmann said, but the cause is still under investigation. Todd Hohbein, a state inspector and fire investigator with the Utah State Fire Marshal’s Office also responded, which is typical in cases where the cause is undetermined.

Kuhlmann said there were smoke detectors in the home but the homeowner couldn’t remember if he heard the alarms with all of the activity going on.

As a reminder to other homeowners, Kuhlmann said:

Smoke detectors in the home are very valuable, and we ask that they be checked every six months to make sure they have fresh battery backups and are working properly.

Kuhlmann said this was the second house fire in this neighborhood within two days. The first was reported Thursday night about a block away and was caused by an electrical issue.

Firefighters attacked and extinguished Thursday’s blaze quickly, which saved the structure from serious damage, Kuhlmann said, noting that once an electrical inspector is able to check and clear the home, it will still be suitable for occupancy.

The scene of a structure fire involving a single-story residence in Hurricane, Utah, April 18, 2019 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

Kuhlmann also advised residents to check their homes for any fire hazards and to make sure they have an evacuation plan in place should they need to exit the home quickly, such as was the case in Saturday’s fire.

Fortunately, the structure on 100 West is an older home, Kuhlmann said, which was constructed using natural wood products and thick support beams. This material takes longer to burn, giving firefighters additional time to fight and extinguish the blaze.

Newer homes have resins, glues and thinner building materials that tend to burn faster.

“Many people think the newer the home, the slower it will burn,” Kuhlmann said, “but that’s not necessarily the case.”

In total, more than 20 firefighters responded to fight Saturday’s blaze from Hurricane Valley Fire District with assistance from the Hildale/Colorado City Fire Department.


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