Lit candle sparks structure fire in Washington City

ST. GEORGE — A fire that started in a bedroom was extinguished Tuesday afternoon when a police officer in Washington City entered the home armed with a fire extinguisher – which not only saved the structure but a family pet as well.

Structure fire is reported in an upstairs bedroom of a two-story home on Bright Way in Washington City, Utah, March 9, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly before 1 p.m., firefighters and emergency personnel were dispatched to a structure fire reported at a residence on North Brighter Way where several homes are still under construction.

A Washington City Police officer was first on scene and entered an upstairs bedroom where he found a small fire burning in a box full of papers as well as the surrounding carpet in one of the bedrooms, Washington City Fire Capt. Julio Reyes told St. George News at the scene.

The officer hit the flames with a fire extinguisher just as the first fire truck arrived on scene and was able to put out a majority of the fire, Reyes said. Firefighters then completely extinguished the small blaze using a water extinguisher, which is used in cases where a fire starts on a solid organic material – including paper.

Even though the fire was minimal and contained quickly, it created a great deal of smoke so a majority of the time in the home was spent ventilating the upstairs with large fans to help dissipate the smoke.

Just before the report of the fire, Reyes said a youth in the residence went to light a candle, but the match fell into a box full of papers that caught fire and then burned the carpet beneath the box.

“There was a small box full of papers, so that’s really what got the fire going,” Reyes said.

Fortunately, the damage was mitigated by the police officer who arrived soon enough to extinguish the flames before the blaze spread to a mattress located just feet from the burning papers.

What was also fortunate, said one firefighter at the scene, was that a pet guinea pig was saved.

Reyes said there was no evidence that Tuesday’s fire was anything but purely accidental and they found no evidence of anything amiss.

The fire caused minimal damage and no injuries were reported.

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

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

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