Saturday was the day for heroes.
Blazes in Salt Lake County kept crews hopping as fires broke out at a government housing complex for the elderly, two homes and a dump used by a construction company.No one was seriously injured in the four fires, thanks primarily to quick thinking by several teenagers and a Salt Lake City police officer.
A 15-year-old boy credited school classes for helping him organize his family to escape a fire that broke out at his Capitol Hill home about 3:30 p.m.
"I was in a bedroom watching TV and the smoke alarm went off," said Jonathan Walker, 78 Edgecombe Dr. (805 North).
The teen saw smoke coming from the basement, shut the door and led his grandfather, 3-year-old brother, 10-year-old brother and a family friend to a neighbor's house.
"They bang it into your head so hard at school" it was easy to remember what to do in case a fire breaks out at home, said Walker.
The blaze began in a downstairs basement bedroom and caused $75,000 damage to the one-level home, said Salt Lake City Fire Battalion Chief Gordon Nicholl. "At this point in time we don't have a cause and we can't even speculate."
The four engines had the blaze under control within 25 minutes.
There was confusion as to whether the father and a sister were still in the home, but firefighters wearing breathing apparatuses went through the residence before accounting for all family members, he said.
Children living in a home in Magna helped save the life of an 18-year-old man.
A house fire at 2820 S. 77th West "totally gutted the one bedroom and a utility kitchen area," said Salt Lake County Fire Capt. Howard Meik.
Eddie Fleener, 18, was asleep in the bedroom when the fire broke out, said Meik, who is in charge of the Magna fire station.
Children who often stay at the home, owned by Lucille Wells, awakened Fleener and pulled him to safety.
Fleener was treated for smoke inhalation. "That boy knew he was lucky. He had to go right by the fire to get out," Meik said.
The fire began at 10:39 a.m. in a garbage can in which hot ashes were placed, Meik said, and caused an estimated $4,000 in damage.
The Red Cross is helping Wells, who has no insurance. The home had no water or electricity following the blaze, Meik said.
Meanwhile, a 20-acre grass fire broke out in West Valley City that charred brush and rubbish. The fire, at 2650 W. 31st South at a dumping ground for a construction company, did not damage nearby commercial buildings, said West Valley Battalion Chief Moose Barkdull.
Flames came within 10 feet of two residential homes, Barkdull said.
Upon arriving, firefighters immediately doused the residences to prevent the flames from charring the houses.
"It was a long, drawn-out fire," the battalion chief said. "We battled almost four hours.'
The fire was contained within 90 minutes after it was reported about 10:30 a.m. The cause was under investigation.
Salt Lake City police officer James R. Nelson is credited with saving the life of an elderly woman who was lying on the floor of her seventh-story apartment. That fire began about 10:30 a.m., about the same time as the two other fires in Salt Lake County.