An elderly woman escaped a fire that caused extensive damage to her West Salt Lake home Saturday.
Nellida Guillen, 71, was cooking in her kitchen when she smelled something burning, she said. She thought it was the food on the oven, but she looked out a back window and saw a huge cloud of black smoke and flames.She grabbed her dog and made it out before the house filled with smoke. Neighbors saw the blaze and called 911 about 1:45 p.m., Salt Lake Fire Capt. Devin Villa said.
The fire was started by a cigarette thrown in a garage behind the house, Villa said. It destroyed the garage and burned its way to the rear of the house over a carport that connected the structures. A big puff of black smoke rose from the flames and could be seen from as far away as the east bench.
Firefighters "attacked the fire from both sides" and put it out before it could consume the entire house, Villa said. The smoke caused damage throughout the structure, 1407 W. 400 South. The garage and carport were destroyed.
The blaze caused about $100,000 in damage, investigators said. The garage had paint and paint thinner inside it, Villa said. He wasn't sure what else the family was storing there.
Guillen has lived in the house for four years with her husband and son, she said. Her LDS bishop, Javier Rico, said the church will provide the family with a place to stay.