Firefighter, photographer help 2 leave burning Taylorsville home

Published: Friday, June 14 2013 12:15 p.m. MDT

Unified firefighters work on a house fire at 1107 W. 4800 South in Taylorsville Friday, June 14, 2013.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

TAYLORSVILLE — A fast-acting Murray firefighter, a KSL-TV photographer and six fire crews worked together to help a family whose home caught fire Friday morning.

The firefighter was on his way to work just before 8 a.m. when he saw smoke coming from a home at 1107 W. 4800 South, Unified Fire Authority Capt. Clint Mecham said. The man called the fire into dispatchers and went to notify the occupants of the home about the fire.

Photographer Mark Wetzel was driving past the home when he saw smoke coming from the eaves. He said he stopped his car and saw another man calling 911 before the two men approached the home.

"We checked to see if there was anyone inside the house," Wetzel said. "There was two people in. We pushed the front door right open and there was an elderly woman walking around, kind of confused."

He said the woman appeared to be in shock as she repeatedly asked if her house was on fire. The two men escorted her out of the home before Wetzel went back to look for an adult male who also lived in the home.

"I went into the house, hollering to see if anyone was in there and he hollered back from the bedroom saying he was putting his shoes on," Wetzel said. "I said, 'OK,' went out of the house and about a minute or so later he was still in there and I went back in and said, 'You've got to leave now, because I've seen fires spread and they spread quickly.'"

He said the man came out of the home carrying a cat. Soon after, one side of the home was engulfed.

"I'm glad I could help," Wetzel said. "I mean, people wonder what they would do and I just jumped right into it and didn't even think about going in. Obviously the house wasn't engulfed yet, but you don't want to see anything bad happen to anyone."

Mecham said six fire crews responded to the home and found the garage and a structure above the home "heavily involved," leading them to start with an exterior, defensive attack on the blaze. After about 15 minutes, they had the fire controlled to the point that they could move into the interior of the home.

"Right now the damage has primarily been confined to the garage itself and the structure there above the garage," Mecham said. "We're doing salvage and overhaul right now to make sure the fire is truly out and didn't extend into the house."

The garage and part of the home above the garage were a total loss. A building inspector and fire investigators were working to see if there was more damage to the home, Mecham said.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Firefighters are working with the Red Cross and family members of the home's two occupants to "make sure they are taken care of," Mecham said. Neighbors James Anderson and Micki Moulton both said the fire was the second in the neighborhood in recent months.

"I was just going down my hallway in my house, looked out the window, and I saw the smoke billowing, I mean amazing smoke — billowing, black, big," Moulton said of Friday's blaze.

Anderson said an elderly woman and her son, who cares for her, live in the home.

"They're a good family and it's unfortunate," he said. "I hope there's insurance and they can rebuild."

Contributing: Ashley Kewish

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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