A family of four was injured Thursday morning - two critically - before they were rescued from their burning house by passers-by and a neighbor, who was also injured.
Fire officials say the fire originated from a Christmas tree.Angelyn Rasmussen, 29, and her 17-month-old daughter, Ann, were in critical but stable condition Friday after being flown to University Hospital's Intermountain Burn and Trauma Center. A nursing supervisor said the baby suffered mostly second-degree burns over 11 percent of her body and the mother suffered from severe smoke inhalation.
Two other children, Paul May, 5, and 2-month-old Mark Rasmussen were treated for smoke inhalation and released from Pioneer Valley Hospital. Ronald Solomon, a neighbor, was also treated and released at the westside hospital for smoke inhalation and a hand laceration he apparently received after breaking through a screen door to enter the burning house.
"The fire started in the front room from the Christmas tree," said West Valley Deputy Fire Chief John Williams. "Apparently the mother was asleep and two children were up and about."
Solomon and two passers-by noticed smoke at 3972 S. 40th West about 10:15 a.m. and helped to get the family out of the house, Williams said. "If they hadn't intervened it would have been a real tragedy. It was a real hot one in there."
Williams said the two unidentified passers-by jumped in their truck and left after everyone was safely outside.
Damage to the house was estimated at $25,000. "The contents are just about a total loss," the chief said. The living room sustained the most damage and the rest of the house suffered extensive smoke damage.
Although investigators are still searching for the exact cause, Williams said the incident is an example of how hazardous dry Christmas trees are at this time of year.
"We'd like to urge people to get rid of their trees now because they're so dry and brittle at this point that they can be deadly if they catch fire," he said.