Firefighters respond to find heavy smoke at early morning structure fire

ST. GEORGE — Firefighters and several engines responded to a structure fire reported at a residence off Valley View Drive after the homeowners found heavy smoke coming from the kitchen area shortly after midnight Wednesday.

Ladder 21 is extended over the roof of a residence on Eclipse Drive where a fire was reported in the kitchen area, St. George, Utah, Jan. 1, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

At approximately 12:20 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a residence in the 1100 block of Eclipse Drive on a possible structure fire, St. George Fire Battalion Chief Darren Imlay said.

The family was able to safely evacuate the residence before calling for help and were outside waiting when the battalion of engines arrived and police officers cordoned off the area.

“The initial engine arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the common area in the kitchen near the great room,” Imlay said.

Upon further inspection, firefighters found active flames and smoldering in that particular area, and after extinguishing the flames, they began the search to determine if the fire had extended further up the wall or into the attic area.

Once they opened up one of the walls and gained access to the area, they found flames and smoldering coming from within the wall that was quickly extinguished, but the attic area remained clear of any flames or smoldering embers.

Large ventilation fans were set up to clear the heavy smoke from the home while crews remained at the scene 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.

Ladder 21 was also on scene with its 100-foot ladder that was extended up toward the middle of the roof area, which Imlay said was primarily to provide sufficient light for the crews inspecting the area.

A battalion of engines respond to a structure fire reported on Eclipse Drive in St. George, Utah, Jan. 1, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“We didn’t’ really see any fire extension in the attic area,” he said. “But when the furnace kicked on a little smoke could be seen coming out of that area, and that ladder is equipped with some really bright lights that can light up that entire area.”

He said the ladder’s water line was also ready to go if needed but added that dousing the structure from the top would only be used in a defensive attack, which is when fire conditions prevent an interior attack due to dangerous conditions or when the blaze is beyond the control of hand lines.

The damage was primarily confined to the kitchen and common area, as well as the drywall in a couple of areas which 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.

Due to the heavy smoke that filled the home the residents would need to find accommodations for the night, Imlay said, but would be able to return to the home in the next day or two.

“No one was injured either, so it was a good outcome overall,” he said.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. The St. George Fire Department responded with three engines and ladder 21.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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