A Tooele home was severely damaged by fire Wednesday night that was started accidentally, a fire official said.
The fire in the Upland Drive home was reported at 8:23 p.m. By the time Tooele City Firefighters arrived three minutes later, the house was engulfed in flames, said TCFD Assistant Chief Bucky Whitehouse. Although the fire was large enough that some reported seeing the glow from as far away as Grantsville, no one was harmed, he said.
“There was only one occupant home at the time, and he made it out successfully,” said Whitehouse. “There were several pets — birds, a dog — and they all made it out.”
Martin Clements, a neighbor who has helped care for the displaced pets since the fire, said he was surprised at how quickly the flames spread.
“We seen smoke coming out of the house,” he said, “and by the time they were getting all the animals out and getting them across the street, and by the time the fire department got here, the fire was all in the front of the house, breaking windows out, and a car was on fire. It was scary — but it looks like everybody’s all right.”
Whitehouse said firefighters quickly got to work battling the flames and contained the fire 11 minutes after the fire department was paged — a remarkably fast time made possible by readily available personnel.
“We’re happy with that,” he said. “Wednesday night is our regular meeting night, so we already had crews at the station. That allowed equipment to get on-scene quickly.”
He said the garage, carport and three rooms of the house were destroyed, while two rooms on the upper level had smoke damage and the home’s basement had smoke and water damage. Rooms that fared best were those that had closed doors at the time of the fire, which prevented flames to spread by restricting the flow of oxygen.
“That’s one thing we do like to encourage, is closing doors and sleeping with doors closed, because it does help keep the fire from spreading, keeps the spread of oxygen,” he said.
Whitehouse said after an investigation into the fire Thursday morning, the fire was determined to have started accidentally in the rear bedroom of the house; however, because the fire had so consumed that area, investigators could not tell exactly what had started the blaze.