A family of six is homeless after a fire destroyed most of their home and caused about $145,000 in damage Friday afternoon.

Salt Lake County Battallion Chief Dennis Steadman was pulling out of the fire station at 6200 S. 5600 West shortly after 4 p.m. when he noticed a large column of smoke rising a few blocks away, said fire Capt. Bill Brass.Several fire engines arrived at 5504 W. 6600 South a few minutes later and attacked flames and smoke emerging from the basement of the split-level home.

Four children had evacuated the house safely before firefighters arrived, Brass said. The children told investigators that their parents, Jerry and Shandra Sorenson, had left the house earlier.

Shortly after 4 p.m., 11-year-old David Sorenson smelled smoke coming out of a vanity in a basement bathroom. The boy called his oldest brother, Danny, 17, who found a fire brewing in the laundry room.

The two boys then gathered their other siblings, Chasity, 13, and Jeremy, 16, and all four exited the house unharmed, Brass said.

About the same time, a neighbor also noticed the fire and called 911.

The fire was controlled within 40 minutes, but by then about 75 percent of the house had burned, Brass said. The rest sustained heavy smoke damage.

Three engines, two rescue trucks, one ladder truck and 18 firefighters worked on the fire, which was out within an hour.

The family will stay with relatives and friends while a more permanent living arrangement can be reached.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.