PAYSON — A family lost their home Monday after building designs made it unsafe for firefighters to douse the spreading flames.
Fire engines arrived about 10 a.m. at the home, 355 W. 700 South in Payson, to find smoke coming out of the attic area and flames visible outside the home. Firefighters began suppressing flames in the attic but encountered problems as the fire began spreading through voids in the walls, said Payson Fire Chief Scott Spencer.
"It's not the typical construction in a modern home," Spencer said. "Most walls have sheet rock on both sides of 2 by 4s, but this home was open from attic to main floor and basement."
Instead of dousing a simple house fire, officials said they were forced to tear down walls to locate hidden flames. Eventually it became a "life safety issue" to continue working on the house and firefighters were forced to abandon the house and later knock it down.
The family retrieved several possessions, including a computer and some pictures, but officials said the home would be torn down after an insurance agent could evaluate it.
Fire departments from Santaquin, Salem and Spanish Fork were called in to assist, making sure the fire didn't spread to other locations.
The fire is still under investigation, but Spencer said they believe it's accidental. Estimated damage loss is more than $150,000.
The parents, their 18-month old baby and a grandmother are receiving help from the Red Cross, including food, clothing, coats, medication refills and baby supplies. The Red Cross will also help the family to connect with the grandfather who is serving overseas in the military.
The American Red Cross in Utah has assisted eight families in the past week, said communications director Susan Thomas.
On Thursday, two families in Salt Lake City were displaced by an apartment fire. The Red Cross offered shelter, food and clothing to one couple and to a father with three sons, Thomas said. Also on Thursday, a mobile home in Ogden was a destroyed by fire, displacing a family of six. The adjacent home was also damaged and the utilities were turned off so two additional families in that home also needed food and a place to stay, she said.
On Friday, two families were forced from their homes when a car crashed into their duplex in West Valley City. A Red Cross disaster action team responded to the home to offer assistance. And on Sunday, a fire forced 10 people from their West Valley home. The Red Cross provided shelter, food and clothing.
e-mail: [email protected]