June 28 editorial
It took just a whiff of charred lumber, one glimpse of a beautifully restored home being scorched by flames, to remind Old Town property owners of their vulnerability to the city’s old archenemy fire.
Friday morning, as horrified neighbors watched fire crews try to contain a raging blaze on upper Norfolk, they were no doubt evaluating how their own homes would fare in a similar disaster. One neighbor said she had already called a roofer to look at her brittle old cedar shingles.
While keeping a wary eye on the yellowish brown smoke belching from under the eaves of the Angel House, Park City’s fire chief Kelly Gee said the blaze was still out of control. He shook his head remembering past fires and the unique challenges posed by Old Town’s steep hillsides. Nearby, Park City’s chief building official, Ron Ivie, was rummaging for clues about the origin of the fire.
It is likely Gee and Ivie will not rest until they know exactly how and why an otherwise beautiful summer morning in Park City was marred by dark smoke and two ruined houses. Over the last 25 years, both have preached about fire protection. Ivie has pushed for tougher enforcement of building codes and Gee has wrangled with water companies, demanding they expand fire-suppression reserves, and cajoled homeowners to trim trees and ornamental bushes.
Their cause has not always been popular. Property owners sometimes bristle at the higher cost of fire-resistant materials, and builders dread the required inspections.
But Friday Ivie, Gee, firefighter and city officials earned a grim reward. The fire did not ignite the hillside; it blistered but did not burn a nearby home, and no lives were lost.
The next few days will be tortuous for the owners of 711 and 713 Norfolk as they tally their losses. But for those fortunate enough, this time, to observe the fire from a distance, it is an important reminder to clear branches and debris from around your homes, check fire sprinklers and do any home repairs that might add, not only to the safety of your own property, but your neighbors’ as well.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Park City and Summit County make the Park Record's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Court report: Week of June 22