Boy starts fire that guts W. Jordan apartment
Mom delays calling 911 but gets kids out safely
By Pat Reavy
Deseret Morning News
WEST JORDAN ó A child playing with matches was blamed for a fire that gutted a West Jordan basement apartment Thursday morning.
Fire crews were called to a duplex near 7700 South and 1500 West just before 8:30 a.m. A 5-year-old boy playing with matches in a bedroom in the basement apartment caught a bed sheet on fire, said West Jordan Battalion Chief Marc McElreath.
The house did not have any smoke detectors, but fortunately the boy and his 3-year-old brother told his mother what had happened, McElreath said.
Rather than call 911 right away, however, the mother, who speaks only Spanish, called her cousin first, McElreath said. It wasn't until three to five minutes later that she called 911.
Heavy black smoke was coming from the basement windows by the time fire crews arrived. The mother, the two boys and another 18-month-old sibling were outside the house by the time firefighters arrived. The mother suffered minor burns on her hands, McElreath said.
No one was home in the upstairs portion of the duplex when the fire started.
Crews needed about 20 minutes to put the fire out. Damage to the basement apartment, which was considered a total loss, was estimated at $100,000. The upstairs portion suffered smoke and water damage.
McElreath said three important lessons for others to learn from this incident are to keep matches out of the reach of children, make sure you have working smoke detectors and call 911 immediately.
Even if a person doesn't speak English as a primary language, 911 dispatchers are able to facilitate language barriers, he said.
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11-05-2004, 06:19 PM #1
Utah-Fire Guts West Jordan ApartmentFront line since 1983 and still going strong
11-08-2004, 05:47 PM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2004
I'm from a volunteer Fire & Rescue Company in Connecticut and we had a similar occurance about two years ago. There was a very poorly maintianed house and no one was home and the oweners of the house had a dog, the dog pushed a small couch up against a heater and the couch eventually caught on fire, and since the house was poorly maintained, it shot up fairly fast. I believe our station had 8 trucks respond along with a ladder and 3 additional engines. Our problem was thouh that the house was right next door to a mulch distributor and it was coming close to catching the mulch on fire. We put the fire out and ended up doing a drill on it two weeks later.
Good luck with any calls to come!
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