Home of a University Professor Goes Up in Flames
Jun. 19, 2004

http://tv.ksl.com/index.php?sid=101644&nid=8

Virginia Menlove: "SO THAT SUNSET OUT THERE, THE BEAUTIFUL SUNSET OUT THERE, SAVED HIS LIFE. THAT'S HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT."

A fast-moving fire breaks out at the Salt Lake City home, of a prominent law professor.

He says, being prepared, helped save his life and much of his home.

The fire started last night, around 9 o'clock, at the home of University of Utah Law Professor Ed Firmage.

He and his partner were inside when it started, but got out safely.

As Sandra Yi reports, they hope sharing their story will teach us an important lesson about fire safety.§0 ]] C1.5

Virginia Menlove Homeowner: "IT WAS INSTANTANEOUS. IT HAPPENED SO QUICKLY. IT HAPPENED SO QUICKLY."

Charred remains, are all that's left of the garage...

Virginia Menlove: "THIS IS THE MASTER BEDROOM RIGHT HERE."

and the master bedroom.

Still, Virginia Menlove is counting her blessings. She and her companion, Ed Firmage, made it out, as flames began to consume their home last night. Firmage, a University of Utah law professor, is recovering from back surgery.

Virginia Menlove: "IF HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ON THAT BED, HE WOULDN'T BE ALIVE RIGHT NOW. THAT'S THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT. IT WAS TOO FAST. SO THERE ARE SOME REAL MIRACLES THAT HAPPENED HERE."

Firmage won't deny that.

His home is filled with priceless items, that miraculously remained untouched, including a silk tapestry, made and blessed by the Dalai Lama.

This glass bowl, used by his great, great grandfather, Brigham Young, also survived the fire.

Ed Firmag: "I THOUGHT IT WAS DONE. I THOUGHT IT WAS ALL OVER FOR THIS."

And what's even more amazing, is, his prized book collection, sitting in a room next door to the garage, is still intact.

Among the 25 hundred books, are some read and signed by Brigham Young.

Ed Firmage: "OH, ABSOLUTELY IRREPLACEABLE, AND I'VE GOT A BUNCH OF OTHERS LIKE THAT FROM BRIGHAM YOUNG AND OTHERS, HUBERT HUMPHREY, MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., ROY WILKINS, PEOPLE I WORKED WITH."

The couple says, the fire taught them how important it is to keep your home up to code, and to be prepared.

Menlove says, she smelled smoke when she got home but shrugged it off, when she couldn't find the source.

Virginia Melove: "IF YOU SMELL SMOKE, YOU BETTER FIDN OUT WHERE IT'S COMING FROM."

Her other advice?

Stay low, during a fire. She points out fire damage on the upper half of the walls but there's none, closer to the ground.

Virginia Menlove: "I MEAN, WHAT A LESSON, JUST TO LOOK AT THIS."

Sandra Yi Reporting: "INVESTIGATORS ARE STILL TRYING TO DETERMINE WHAT CAUSED THE FIRE. RIGHT NOW, THE COUPLE IS STAYING WITH FAMILY. THEY CREDIT NEIGHBORS AND THE FIRE DEPARTMENT FOR RESPONDING VERY QUICKLY LAST NIGHT."