An early-morning fire displaced a Stansbury Park family and destroyed their home on Saturday.
Chief Randy Willden of the North Tooele County Fire District said the man and woman, their adult son and their grandson, were asleep when the man was awakened by a noise at about 2 a.m.
“The homeowner heard something on his front porch that woke him up,” Willden said. “He went out on the porch, heard some crackling, and the whole front of the house was on fire and the [detached] garage was on fire.”
All four people inside were able to wake up and get out of the house safely, he said. However, they weren’t out of harm’s way yet. The family fled the house into the backyard, which was fenced in — effectively trapping them as the fire burned, he said.
“The smoke was blowing their way and they were trapped in their yard. When their neighbor’s son came home, he woke up his dad, who was a firefighter,” Willden said. “They knocked the fence down so they could get out. If it could go wrong, pretty much they had it — trapped in their backyard and breathing smoke.”
The woman and the grandchild, who is 3 or 4 years old, were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, but were not hospitalized, he said.
Willden said the fire burned hot and fast, fueled by the home’s vinyl siding. The entire upper floor and the garage, as well as a fifth-wheel camping trailer parked next to the garage, were destroyed and the main floor was damaged.
There was no fire damage in the basement, Willden said, but five to six inches of water from fighting the fire collected there. In addition, a neighbor’s vinyl siding was melted by the fire, and the front ends of cars parked about 10 feet away from the house were melted, he said.
Twenty-two firefighters from the NTCFD and Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department battled the fire, which was largely extinguished by about 4:30 a.m., he said. An investigator with the Office of the State Fire Marshal examined the scene, Willden said. The report on his findings had not been returned as of press time Tuesday.
Willden said evidence indicates the fire started on the front porch, though beyond that it was tough to say what could have started the fire.
“There was no electricity out there. There was really nothing out there but a couple pieces of furniture to be the cause of the fire, but most of us don’t know what we have,” he said. “It could have been something they left out there.”
Willden said the family had been placed in a hotel for a few days by the American Red Cross. Beyond a few belongings salvaged by firefighters and the contents of a couple of fire-proof safes, he said, the family lost most everything. Still, the outcome was more favorable than it could have been, especially since the fire started in the middle of the night.
“The fire got a big start on them,” he said. “Until somebody finally spots the fire or calls us, it can burn a long time before we find out about it.”