Lithium batteries identified as possible cause of garage fire in Colorado City

Hildale/Colorado City Fire Department engine, Hildale, Utah, April 28, 2019 | File photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An early morning fire in Colorado City on Friday threatened a multi-story home and forced the residents to evacuate. 

The property is located on Taylor Avenue in the Centennial Park neighborhood. Hildale/Colorado City Fire Assistant Chief Edwin Barlow told St. George News the fire was reported shortly after 2 a.m. and started inside a detached garage with living quarters on the upper floor.  

“The garage itself was completely involved with fire coming out (when we arrived),” he said. 

Firefighters worked quickly to extinguish the blaze and were able to contain it before it spread upstairs, though Barlow said the living quarters sustained heavy smoke damage. The garage is separated from the main structure by a breezeway about 4-feet wide, and the fire charred part of the home’s exterior wall. 

Barlow said the occupants of the property evacuated to their next-door neighbor’s home. No injuries were reported. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Barlow said the homeowner told firefighters they were charging some lithium-ion batteries in the garage overnight, which may be the source.  

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, batteries containing lithium are generally safe and unlikely to fail as long as there are no defects and the batteries are not damaged. When lithium batteries fail to operate safely or are damaged, they can present a fire and/or explosion hazard. Damage from improper use, storage or charging may cause lithium batteries to fail.

The Hildale/Colorado City Fire Department dispatched three engines, a ladder truck and a support vehicle, Barlow said. An engine from the Hurricane Valley Fire District also responded. In all, 16 firefighters were on scene. 

The fire department in Hildale and Colorado City is staffed entirely by volunteers. 

“It was a really good response, and they did an excellent job and a great save,” Barlow said. 

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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