Family flees house fire
May 6, 2008
A fire damaged a house on the edge of Thaynes Canyon on Thursday, the Park City Fire District said, and investigators say it appears homebuilders years ago did not safely construct the area near a fireplace.
The Park City Fire District was called to 2482 Morning Star Court at 9:51 p.m. after a chimney fire was reported. Seven minutes later, firefighters arrived and saw flames and smoke on the house’s third floor, near the chimney chase, the Fire District said.
A husband and wife had fled the house with their infant by the time the firefighters got to the house. The husband had called 911 reporting there was smoke inside the house, according to Bob Zanetti, an assistant fire chief.
He said the firefighters quickly put down the flames, but they spent about 90 minutes at the house extinguishing the fire, which burned behind the chimney and inside the roof.
"They were pretty fortunate that it didn’t burn down the house," Zanetti said, calling the blaze a "significant fire."
He said 18 people from the Fire District responded, and three firefighters went to the roof to put the fire out. The Fire District said three engines and another truck went to the house.
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"We were up there for a while because we had to do a lot of overhaul," he said, describing the final steps in putting out a fire.
The Fire District said the blaze caused about $50,000 in damage.
The Summit County Assessor’s Office said Gloria and Jack Johnson own the house. It is valued at $1,646,414, according to the Assessor’s Office. Jack Johnson did not immediately return a phone message.
City Hall’s chief building official, Ron Ivie, who investigated, said the people inside are related to the owners. The woman and child were sleeping, but the man was awake when a smoke detector sounded, he said.
"They were able to get out with no difficulty in that regard," Ivie said.
Ivie said the people in the house had a fire in the fireplace before the blaze. The fire crept up a wooden wall behind the fireplace, he said.
The fireplace was probably built in the late 1970s and it should not have had wood behind it, Ivie said. The wooden wall was not visible, he said.
"I don’t know how anybody would have known," he said.
Ivie said he wants the fireplace reconstructed without the wood. He estimates that could cost several thousand dollars. He said a similar fire could have started whenever the fireplace was used, and Ivie cannot explain why one did not break out until Thursday.
"I have no idea. That should have happened long before now," he said.