The Utah attorney general's office has set up a fund for people who want to contact or donate to a family whose house on South Temple was destroyed Friday by a fire that killed two children and injured six people.
Lorin Marie Clark, 6, remained in critical condition Friday night at University Hospital with second- and third-degree burns over nearly one-third of her body, a nursing supervisor said.John Clark, 40, who was the campaign manager for Paul Van Dam's successful run for attorney general last year, was in intensive care at Holy Cross Hospital with a fractured left shoulder and suffering from smoke inhalation.
Clark had put his 7-month-old son, Timothy, on the second-floor porch roof when the fire broke out, about 6:30 a.m. Friday, at 943 E. South Temple. He then fell off the roof trying to retrieve the child, said Gordon Nicholl, Salt Lake City Fire Department battalion chief.
The infant, who was not injured, and 2-year-old Jonathan Clark were being tended by relatives, Nicholl said.
Carol Clark, 36, safely got her 2-year-old son out of the house and was at University Hospital with her daughter. The mother was treated for shock and smoke inhalation and later released.
"We're going to be up there for a long time" to ensure that the blaze, which caused $300,000 in damage to the residence, was fully extinguished, Nicholl said. The three-story house had bonded insulation, made of polarized newspapers.
"When a fire gets in it, we have an extremely difficult time putting it out."
The fast-moving fire apparently started in the kitchen and then "traveled on an adjacent stairwell up to the second floor and the third floor," Nicholl said.
"We're looking at appliances, but we're not confirming that at this point in time. We do have some appliances in our lab. We don't know yet."
Fire investigators have been unable to determine whether smoke detectors were installed in the house, Nicholl said. "We can't determine that because there was so much damage, we'd have to dig through the rubble, and that's been tromped on."
Elliot Clark, 4, and Heather Sheehan, 14, who was visiting the family from out of state, were killed in the blaze.
"I think the Sheehan girl and the 4-year-old boy never woke up. I think the smoke got them before they woke up," Nicholl said.
Two neighbors, Keith Nelson, 30, and David Kamerath, 47, were treated for smoke inhalation after they tried to retrieve children in the home. Kamerath carried the 6-year-old down to the ground floor. Firefighter Jeff Scott also was treated for smoke inhalation and released, Nicholl said.
"We estimate the fire actually burned for a maximum of 15 minutes from start to finish," he said. "There was a tremendous fire load in the house" with several layers of wallpaper and many levels of varnish on the woodwork.
"So it had a natural interior chimney to roar up there," Nicholl said, adding, "It just took off."
Firefighters arrived at the scene within two minutes of the call, he said, which is less than half of the national standard response time. Each fire truck crew includes a paramedic, who Nicholl said tried to get neighbors out of the house. Three trucks and Gold Cross ambulance crews arrived at the scene.
Nicholl said anyone wanting to contact the family or donate money can call the attorney general's office, 538-1326.