Seven homes were evactuated after a fire erupted in a west Ogden lumberyard Tuesday.
The blaze at Bowen Enterprises, 839 W. 1700 South, was reported just after 2 p.m. There were no serious injuries.Fifty-six firefighters came from every Ogden fire company, and units from Weber County assisted.
At its peak, flames reached 100 feet high as they engulfed a 50-foot-long, 36-foot-high wood pile, said Weber Fire District Chief Glen Burton.
"It got pretty spectacular for a while there. I mean to tell you it got kind of western," Burton said.
Rick Judkins, manager of Bowen Enterprises, said a $120,000 mulcher, a one-day old $20,000 band saw, semitrailer beds, conveyor systems, generator, office building and the large pile of recyclable wood were all lost.
"Seven of us were trying to put out the fire with shovels when it first started, but the wind picked up and it spread too quickly," Judkins said.
Bowen Enterprises owner Gary Bowen arrived shortly after the fire started and plowed away debris from the large pile of wood with a bulldozer to contain the flames.
The fire started on the northwest side of Bowen Enterprises and spread east across the complex toward's Jerry Oberg's home, an employee at Bowen. The flames singed the foundation and grass around Oberg's home. Oberg, armed with a garden hose, joined a firefighter with a high-pressure hose to hold off the flames until a wind change pushed the flames south, saving the home.
Oberg said his crab apple and walnut trees, just 30 feet away from his home, were popping with fire and sounded like a "loose electric cord." He said a thermometer on the side of his house broke at 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
The fire started just a few feet east of Kathleen Elner's home, but fortunately winds fanned the flames east, away from the home.
"My 89-year-old mother is staying with us . . . she just returned from the hospital," Elner said. "I'm just glad it turned out the way it did. It was really scary there for a while - scary for (my mother)."
Elner's mother watched the flames spread away from her daughter's home from a car a few hundred feet away. "It was pretty ugly there for a while. We all lucked out," Elner said.
Burton said one firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion.
Burton also said because of the density of the wood pile, the fire is expected to smolder for the next few days before it is completely extinguished.
At the height of the fire, heat warped the plastic housings on the sirens of fire vehicles, Burton said.
Crews are controlling the fire by soaking the smoldering debris. The cause is still under investigation.