Nine-Year-Old Was Home Alone When Fire Destroyed His Utah Home

LAYTON, Utah (AP) -- A 9-year-old boy was home alone when fire broke out and destroyed his home, fire officials said.

Layton Fire Chief Kevin Ward said the boy suffered slight smoke inhalation and was treated at the scene Monday afternoon. Police were investigating why the boy was home alone.

Assistant Police Chief Craig Gibson said the boy was released to his grandparents while police tried to locate his parents.

The boy escaped the burning home and ran to a neighbor's house, where he paged his grandfather, Ward said. The boy's grandfather arrived shortly after being paged.

When Layton, Kaysville and Clearfield firefighters arrived, flames were coming out of the bedroom and living room windows, Gibson said.

Crews got the fire under control within 15 minutes. Firefighters suspect that a candle in the master bedroom may have been the cause of the blaze, but the investigation was continuing.

Damage was estimated at around $75,000.

Firefighters had not determined whether there were any working smoke detectors in the home.

Nonfunctional smoke detectors were found in a second Layton home that caught fire early Monday.

Paul and Norma Sharp awoke at 3 a.m. to what they thought was someone breaking into their home, Ward said.

``They heard popping and cracking noises,'' the fire chief said.

The couple realized there was a fire in their attic and called 911. By the time fire crews from Layton and Kaysville arrived, flames were shooting out of the roof, Ward said.

``It flashed over,'' he said, ``and the house was pretty well engulfed.''

Firefighters needed about 25 minutes to get the fire under control, Ward said.

The cause of the fire appeared to be electrical and damage was estimated at $200,000.

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