About three dozen family members living in a home that was the site of a building controversy three years ago are now living in the Tabiona Town Hall after fire damaged their home last week.

The Nov. 29 blaze at the Hanna home of Fred Collier was contained to just four rooms, but fire officials say that while structural damage was minimal, damage due to smoke and water was extensive.Quick thinking on the part of family members who closed all doors in order to cut off oxygen to the blaze saved the house from destruction, said Tabiona Fire Chief Gene Grundvig. All of the home's occupants were able to escape the 9 a.m. fire without injury.

Grundvig said the fire began in a small crawl space between the first and second floors. He says it appears a possible crack in the chimney flue allowed heat and smoke to escape in the confined area, resulting in hot gases that ignited some nearby boxes.

Collier, 46, made headlines three years ago when he was charged with a class B misdemeanor for building without a permit.

The conflict arose in the fall of 1992, when Collier began adding an upper level to a former LDS church that serves as the family's home. Collier argued that Duchesne County had no legal right to require him to obtain a building permit.

The county eventually dropped the charge when it was discovered the state building codes they had adopted had not been officially signed into law. Once the codes were formally adopted, the county declined to refile charges against Collier, even though additional construction has been ongoing.

Collier's family - which consists of an estimated 27 children and seven adults - has lived in Hanna, located 25 miles west of Duchesne, for the past seven years.

The family is being housed at the Tabiona Town Hall. Red Cross volunteers from Ogden and Vernal responded to assist the family with emergency needs.

Al Gabrielsen, disaster chairman for the Bonneville Chapter of the American Red Cross in Ogden, said town residents were first on the scene and arranged for immediate sheltering of the family at a nearby school until Red Cross workers arrived with cots, blankets and additional food supplies.

He said the family would be able to resume normal living once safety inspections have been completed and water and smoke damage has been repaired. Until then, all are expected to remain at the town hall.