Family of seven escapes house fire in Francis
A South Summit family of seven narrowly escaped a fire that destroyed their home early Sunday evening.
Casey Vorwaller, Park City Fire District’s public information officer, said the home is a "total loss" and he described the fire as "one of the worst" he’s seen.
"In the 10 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never seen anything like it," Vorwaller said. "It completely destroyed the house. It’s horrible especially because it’s right before Christmas."
The family has five children ranging in age from three to 12, Vorwaller said, adding that a neighbor is currently letting the family stay with them.
The community response has been "amazing," Vorwaller said. More than 50 people responded to the home the night of the fire to lend a hand and help salvage anything they could from the multi-level residence.
"People just wanted so badly to help with anything possible," Vorwaller said. "It had not started snowing yet so we tried to get a few things out of the basement."
Vorwaller, who also lives in Francis, spoke with the family and said they are "at a loss for words."
"The husband and wife said they are just kind of numb. They said, ‘we are still in shock and you never feel like it will happen to you and then it happens.’ It’s hard to wrap their heads around because so many memories have been made in that home," Vorwaller said. "They both realized the most important thing was getting the family out and that they are still together. And the outreach of the community and the help they are receiving has overwhelmed them with gratitude, they said."
At around 5 p.m. Sunday, nearly 30 firefighters from the Park City and South Summit Fire Districts responded to the home after the family reported hearing "popping sounds" coming from the attic.
"The family heard it and then someone said, ‘you have flames coming out of your roof,’" Vorwaller said.
The blaze quickly engulfed the 6,000-square-foot residence located at 461 Aspen Road in the Wild Willow Subdivision, in Francis. The fire was completely extinguished within a couple of hours.
Two nearby houses, one within less than 30 feet, were evacuated. No other structures were threatened and no injuries were reported.
Vorwaller said early estimates put the damages at close to $500,000, excluding the contents inside the home. He said the family could be displaced for up to six months.
According to the investigation, the fire originated in the chimney before eventually spreading to the attic causing the roof to collapse.
"It’s so important for people to get their chimneys cleaned every year because stuff can build up and it’s almost like charcoal. It’s very predisposed to burn," Vorwaller said. "We use fireplaces quite a bit up here and we need to make sure to get them cleaned."
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family. Visit ww.gofundme.com/p8esv4gk
to donate. Accounts have also been set up for the Eastin family through Mountain America Credit Union, Zions Bank and Key Bank.
A head-on collision Thursday morning on Brown’s Canyon Road killed the driver of one vehicle and left another driver with critical injuries.