Chief says truck driver saved couple from early morning house fire in Veyo – St George News
ST. GEORGE – A couple were spared after their house in Veyo caught fire on Tuesday morning, when a tractor-trailer driver spotted the flames and not only woke the couple up, but entered the house and took one of them away. ‘between them outside in a safe place.
Shortly after 3 a.m., a structural fire was reported on Center Street in Veyo involving a house where flames could be seen coming from the corner of the residence. A tractor-trailer driver was heading west over the center towards National Highway 18 when he saw the flames and called 911, Veyo Fire Chief Chris Larsen said in St. George News.
Larsen said when the driver saw flames coming from the back of the house but didn’t see anyone outside, he was concerned that the occupants still inside might be asleep and didn’t know that a fire was burning in their house. He reportedly pulled the horn to alert residents, and when there was still no activity, he went to the front door and knocked loudly until one of the residents responded. .
The driver made sure the couple were safe outside, where firefighters found them minutes later, the chief said. Once there, firefighters found the west corner of the house engulfed in flames and crews began to fight the blaze to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the structure. They also learned that the Good Samaritan “was gone” before they arrived, Larsen said.
The fire was also burning through the attic and on the farms, he said, and the blaze continued to spread throughout the length of the house – destroying almost the entire structure supporting the roof.
Crews continued to fight the blaze until it was brought under control, and soon after, the flames were extinguished before the blaze had a chance to destroy the rest of the house.
Just over a third of the structure was destroyed by fire, in particular the living room and a storage room near the rear of the house, while the rest of the residence suffered extensive smoke and smoke damage. ‘water.
Larsen said crews remained at the scene until just after 8 a.m. to make sure any embers that could smolder and then reignite were completely extinguished.
The outcome of the fire could have been incredibly worse, he said, if the driver of the truck hadn’t stopped and taken the time to wake the couple and alert them to the fire that was burning in their house.
“It’s just hero stuff,” he said, referring to the driver’s action.
When St. George News visited the scene of the blaze Tuesday afternoon, Company Mayor Brandon G. Humphries, who was on site, said it was the home of his aunt and her uncle, Shelly and John Bowler, who had caught fire. He also said the couple were sleeping soundly when the fire broke out and it was the efforts of the truck driver that saved their lives that night.
Not only did the driver of the truck honk, ring the doorbell and knock on the door until they woke up, but he also took his uncle, who suffers from a medical condition that severely limits his condition. mobility, away from home. It wasn’t until the couple got away from the fire and to safety that the driver “took off,” Humphries said.
Humphries spoke to the driver on Tuesday, who told him he was heading west on Center Street in his hay truck when he noticed flames coming from the corner of the house. Humphries said he saw the flames “was amazing” because the fire was burning in a corner opposite the road.
“I still have no idea how he saw that fire,” Humphries said.
He also said his aunt woke up first and walked to the back door first, not knowing where the ringing and banging came from, but when she opened the back door she was faced with huge flames, and he said it wasn’t until she went to the front door that she spoke to the truck driver.
Deputy Fire Marshal Todd Hohbein was also called to the scene to assist in the fire investigation. He told St. George News that the fire started in the back of the house from rags thrown on the back patio containing an oil-based stain that had been used to stain a more picnic table. early in the evening.
The ensuing chemical reaction caused the rags to ignite spontaneously, and the flames then spread from the rags to the house until the outside area caught fire – and from there they quickly spread, did he declare.
He called the truck driver a “guardian angel,” he said, adding that the driver “was certainly in the right place at the right time,” and praised the man’s heroic actions.
Unfortunately, he said, the house has suffered so much damage that it is unrecoverable – at least from an insurance standpoint.
Hohbein also said that oil-based stains and wood finishes or varnishes tend to heat up spontaneously as they dry and harden. The ignition is caused by an oxidation reaction, or spontaneous heating, which can occur with or without the presence of light, he said, similar to what happened in the fire in Veyo.
Several such fires are reported each year in southern Utah, he said.
He also said each box of the tincture is labeled with a warning and contains information on proper handling. The warning can be in very small print, he said, but if it’s too small, have someone else read it, as it’s extremely important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. . He said rags or rags soaked in oil-based stain or varnish should never be stacked or thrown in the trash while they are still wet.
Instead, the cloths can be placed in a container with a tight fitting lid, or inside a Ziplock bag which is then filled with water and sealed, which will prevent the stain from oxidizing or heating up. , then they can be discarded.
That said, it’s still important to follow the manufacturer’s directions whenever working with oil-based stains and finishes, he said.
The Veyo Fire Department responded and mutual aid was provided by Dammeron Valley Fire, the Brookside Fire Department and the Central Fire Department. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office also responded to help.
This report is based on statements from police, emergency personnel or other responders and may not contain all of the findings.
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