Elderly couple displaced when early morning house fire ignites in garage

ST. GEORGE — Nearly 30 firefighters and seven fire engines responded to a structure fire that displaced an elderly couple and caused extensive damage near 900 South early Friday morning.

Smoke continues to billow from home as firefighters work to contain the early morning fire on South 550 East, St. George, Utah, Dec. 6, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Residents in the neighborhood awoke to a battery of fire engines and ladder trucks pulling into South 550 East a few minutes before 6 a.m. after a call to 911 reported that a house was on fire.

Crews arrived to find flames coming from the garage area. After cutting through the garage door, firefighters began an aggressive attack to contain the blaze, St. George Fire Battalion Chief Robert Hooper said.

“We had to cut through that door and then just filet it open,” he said, “because a lot of times the fire melts the mechanisms and the door won’t slide open.”

The couple was able to safely evacuate their home and were waiting outside when firefighters arrived.

St. George Police officers also responded and cordoned off the street to prevent traffic from moving through the scene as firefighters continued battling the blaze that spread into the attic area, fueled by structural material and items that were stored there.

Seven fire engines line the street after an early morning residential structure fire is reported on South 550 East, St. George, Utah, Dec. 6, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Meanwhile, neighbors helped the couple and brought blankets to keep them warm as firefighters worked to contain the blaze.

Once the active fire was contained, crews began the process of overhauling the area above the garage where smoke continued to billow from the vents and out through the roof, checking for fire extensions or smoldering areas that were hidden between the walls, ceilings or any void to extinguish any smoldering embers.

The home was extensively damaged from not only the fire, but also from smoke and water, leaving the couple displaced.

Hooper said that accommodations were not discussed at that point, adding that once they determine what resources are needed, the Red Cross will be contacted to assist with temporary housing or other needs.

Smoke continues to billow from the residence as firefighters work to extinguish burning material during an early morning structure fire on South 550 East, St. George, Utah, Dec. 6, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

A vehicle parked inside of the garage was also destroyed in the blaze.

The exact cause of the fire is undetermined, he said, but at this stage in the investigation, it appears the fire started in the garage area, but the ignition source was still unknown at the time of this report.

This is the second structural fire reported in St. George in as many days.

The St. George Fire Department responded with 28 firefighters, five engines, a squad truck and ladder 21. The St. George Police Department also responded to assist with traffic control, while Gold Cross staged an ambulance at the scene.

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

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!