Despite valiant efforts by neighbors, a 17-year-old boy was killed and his mother critically injured in a house fire Saturday night.
The split-entry wood and brick frame house at 3143 S. 4060 West was nearly gutted."We were just changing my oil, close the hood and see flames," said Robbe Ruttenber, 17. "We ran over there, got hoses and started to put the fire out. The other guys broke the windows, got a ladder and tried to get in. But the flames were too hot."
Graham MacDonald, 21, was driving up into the subdivision to his apartment house and saw the flames.
"I went down into the basement. There was no way; it was so hot. I had them spray me down, but a wall of heat came down on me. Oh, my hell," he said.
A neighbor hosed MacDonald down. "I went around the building and it hit me. I came out and an electrical line fell," said MacDonald. "She came running out on fire. A neighbor squirted her down. I wanted to get in there so bad; that poor lady."
The mother, whose name was not released, was flown from Pioneer Valley Hospital to the Intermountain Burn Center at the University Hospital. Firefighters removed the body of her 17-year-old son about 90 minutes after the 7:30 p.m. fire began.
Fire Chief Gerald Maughan said flames were shooting out the top story when firefighters arrived. It took about 50 minutes for the fire to be extinguished.
While the mother, whose hair was in flames and who was barefoot when she left the house, was able to escape, her son died in the fire.
"He was found up in the northwest bedroom. I understand he had a mental handicap," said Maughan.
The fire apparently started in the front room of the house. "We haven't been able to interview the mother. We probably won't be able to interview her for a day or so," Maughan said.
Four firefighters suffered fatigue and were scorched while trying to retrieve the victim from the fire, Maughan said.