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    Default Utah-Salt Lake County Blaze

    Blaze damages home, creates scare about children

    All 5 were found at their grandmother's house 2 hours later

    By Pat Reavy
    Deseret Morning News
    A fast-moving two-alarm fire caused extensive damage to a house in the Millcreek area Monday, but no one was injured.
    Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning NewsFirefighters hose down a house that caught fire in the Millcreek area Monday. Officials at first were unsure if children were inside. For a while, fire officials were uncertain if as many as five children were in the home. But the children, who went unaccounted for for about two hours, were later found at a grandmother's house.
    About 2 p.m., Mary Waldroup was working at her desk, where she had a clear view of her neighbors' home across the street near 3200 South and 2600 East.
    "I saw smoke ... picked up the phone and dialed 911," she said. "I said, 'The neighbors have children, please hurry.' "
    A single mother lives with five children in the house. The oldest daughter is 18 and normally watches some of the children after school. The other four children are all grade-school age, Waldroup said.
    Waldroup ran across the street and started banging on the door of the burning house and yelling. She then went around to the side screen door and did the same thing.
    "I screamed, yelled and hollered but didn't hear anybody," she said.
    She and other neighbors then heard a small explosion, possibly from the gas line in front of the house.
    Jeremy Williams said the result was like a flame thrower coming from the front of the house.
    Williams, Nicole Kececi and Danell Wilhite tried to protect the car of a neighbor. Paint on the car curled from the heat of the blaze.
    All three said they then watched in amazement as a firefighter put on protective equipment and reached his hands through the flames to turn off the gas meter.
    "As soon as he turned it down there was applause. It was amazing," Wilhite said.
    A second alarm was called on the fire because of the amount of flames and because firefighters were unsure if any of the children were inside, said Unified Fire Authority Capt. Jay Torgersen.
    The oldest daughter's car was not in the driveway and a first and secondary search of the house turned up nothing, he said. Still, crews weren't 100 percent sure about the welfare of the children until the mother arrived at the house a couple of hours later and told officials she had dropped off her children at a grandmother's.
    The cause of the fire was still under investigation Monday.
    Last edited by UTFFEMT; 12-02-2007 at 09:03 PM.
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