Firefighters work to salvage family’s furnishings after fire tears through Cedar City home

Fire starts in front porch area of home and spreads through attic into roof during a structure fire in Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 22, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A fire that started on the front porch of a tri-plex housing unit caused extensive damage in Cedar City early Tuesday morning, leaving a family displaced.

A collapsed ceiling sent drywall and insulation into rooms below during an early-morning structure fire in Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 22, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Cedar City Fire Chief Mike Phillips said firefighters were dispatched to the fire reported in the early morning hours Tuesday, and crews arrived to find active flames burning through the attic area of the home.

As firefighters were battling the fire burning near the roof, the adjoining roofs on either side were also doused with water to prevent the flames from spreading to the homes nextdoor.

Meanwhile, fire crews were also working to cover furnishings and important items inside of the home with tarps to mitigate any water or smoke damage — a task that continued until the ceiling in multiple rooms started to collapse. At that point, crews were ordered out of the home as conditions became too dangerous for them to remain inside.

“With the amount of water needed to fight that fire, it was enough to soak the sheetrock to the point of collapse,” Phillips said.

Crews were able to stop the progression of the fire from encroaching on any other structures, and once it was knocked down, the overhaul phase of checking for fire extensions began. This task was made easier since the home was newer and constructed with fiberglass insulation, making it naturally fire-resistant, as well as checking for any hot spots or areas that could reignite later.

Garage is nearly cleared out with the help of firefighters following an early-morning structure fire the burned through the attic of a residence in Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 22, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Firefighters were able to spare both homes on either side of the residence, which share a common wall. One of the units sustained light smoke damage, but the residents were able to return to the home hours later, “which is pretty amazing when you think about it,” Phillips said.

The family in the middle unit was displaced following the fire, and the American Red Cross’s Disaster Action Team responded to help the family, providing emergency shelter, food and other emergency assistance as needed.

A majority of the damage to the inside of the home consisted of water and smoke destruction, Philips said, but the tresses supporting the roof and the roof itself sustained heavy fire damage. The total cost of the damage to the home is estimated to be between $40-50,000.

Phillips also said they know the fire started in the front porch area of the home, but the cause is still under investigation at this time.

The family was able to evacuate the home safely before the fire department arrived, and no injuries to either civilians or firefighters were reported.

St. George News reporter JEFF RICHARDS contributed to this report.

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

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

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