A Thursday morning fire in an older home at 2265 S. 700 East injured no one but is a classic example of the need for increased attention to fire prevention skills, said Salt Lake Fire Battalion Chief Gordon Nicholl.
Firefighters around Utah are promoting national Fire Prevention Week this week and are encouraging residents to practice fire evacuation drills, protect their homes with smoke alarms and ask local fire officials to inspect homes if there is a question about fire safety.Nicholl said Nancy James, her 2-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter were in the home that had been remodeled as a two-unit apartment. One of the children took the mother's cigarette lighter into an upstairs closet to play with it and started the house on fire.
"If this had happened in the middle of the night, somebody would be dead," Nicholl said. The mother responded quickly when noticing the fire and got her children out. Then she tried to douse the flames using pans filled with water, but the blaze spread quickly through the second level and attic, which had been finished as living space.
A neighbor called the fire department at 10:36 a.m. Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames on the second story, but isolated sections of the attic burned out of control for about one hour.
Nicholl estimated damage to the 60- to 80-year-old house at $20,000.