Fire crews in St. George spent Saturday monitoring hot spots of a large blaze that consumed several homes. Meanwhile, investigators started the process to determine how and where the fire started.
“We don’t have any witnesses who actually saw the fire start,” said Chief Robert Stoker with the St. George Fire Department. “There were several witnesses that were able to — once they heard some explosions or noises and saw the smoke — they were able to look in their backyards or over the walls.”
The wind-driven blaze damaged at least seven homes. Police believe three of those homes were destroyed. The fire was reported Friday afternoon in the area of 300 West and Diagonal Street. It burned out of control for several frantic hours. No injuries were reported.
Stoker said police helped gather statements from many witnesses in the area.
“We’ve had a few say that it looks like it started in one of the sheds in the backyard and one thought it just started in the vegetation as a brush fire,” said Stoker.
Firefighters spent the night watching for flare-ups. One of the homes was still smoldering on Saturday and was so unstable that crews could only spray water on it from a distance.
One burning home had three dogs inside. Police were able to get two of them out of the home and then firefighters stumbled upon the third dog inside a burning bathroom.
“The shower curtain was on fire they were extinguishing that,” said Stoker. “When they did that, they heard a dog whimper in the bathtub. That dog had actually jumped into the bathtub and had some water in it and was hiding in there and our crews were able to get him and bring him out.”
One resident whose home was damaged said she first heard popping sounds.
“We thought it was something blowing in the wind because the wind was really blowing hard yesterday,” said Heidi Ivie. “So we looked out the window and we could see smoke and ran outside and there was this huge fire.”
Ivie said they got out of the home and called 911. She said it was a scary experience to see the fire move so quickly.
“It just destroyed a lot,” she said. “We were fortunate. We just have a lot of water damage and smoke damage. Everything in our house, they say, right now is ruined. We are just trying to get a few belongings so we have clothes to wear.”
Investigators are still working to add up the dollar amount of the damage caused by the fire, which includes vehicles, motorcycles, equipment and tools, according to Stoker.