Battery of fire engines respond to structure fire in attic

ST. GEORGE — Early detection and a call to 911 likely saved a home from total devastation after a fire broke out in the attic Thursday evening, prompting a multi-engine response as trick-or-treaters made their way through the neighborhood.

Smoke seen coming from under the eaves of a residence on West 200 South during flue fire, St. George, Utah, Oct. 31, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Deanna Buchanan, St. George News

Shortly before 6 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire on West 200 South just east of Bluff Street. They arrived to find smoke coming from one of the eaves of the attic, but no flames were visible. At that point, with trucks lining the street, fire crews “went into investigation mode and started looking for the fire,” St. George Fire Capt. Dan Cazier said.

A hot spot was located in the attic above a common wall that separates the living room from the garage, Cazier said, and once they opened up the ceiling and gained access to the area, they found flames coming from a couple of trusses near the fireplace flue.

“It’s actually a triple-wall pipe that moves the smoke from the fireplace out through the attic,” Cazier said.

Fire crews extinguished the flames using a water line that was pulled through an opening in the attic. They continued removing insulation and material as they checked the area for hot spots or fire extensions that were not readily visible but could potentially reignite and cause a secondary fire at a later time.

No damage or breaks were found in the flue during an inspection, Cazier said, but he did find that the pipe was touching a portion of the wood of the structure, the same area where the fire was believed to have started.

Firefighters access attic area to pull a line through after a flue fire is reported on West 200 South, St. George, Utah, Oct. 31, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Deanna Buchanan, St. George News

The damage was primarily confined to the trusses in the attic area, and the drywall in a couple of areas was cut to gain access to the insulation that continued to smolder until crews located and extinguished the embers during an overhaul of the area.

Cazier said the area likely smoldered for possibly an hour until the area became so hot that it ignited. As soon as the resident smelled smoke coming from the ceiling area, he called 911. The quick actions on the part of the resident likely helped to reduce the damage to the structure.

“Early call, early recognition kept the damage in this case to a minimum,” Cazier said.

The property manager was also at the scene and said there were a number of trusses that would need to be replaced, which entails using large jacks to support the roof while the trusses are switched out.

The fire was the first of two blazes Thursday that reportedly started in or near a chimney, the second of which was reported on East Morningside Drive just after 6:30 p.m.

The St. George Fire Department responded with two engines, a ladder truck and the large squad truck. No injuries were reported.

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

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