SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – September 14, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – Millcreek Canyon is now open, following a fire which threatened homes. Pipeline Trail is still closed due to the fire.
The Church Fire started around 11 p.m. Friday after Unified Police officers were called to the scene of disturbance in Millcreek Canyon.
When deputies arrived they encountered a man who was acting strangely. Police say the man began to fight with deputies before breaking free. They say he then set his shirt on fire and tossed it into a patch of dry brush. Deputies were finally able to subdue the man, but by then the fire was burning out of control.
The suspect was identified as James O. Gill, age 35. He’s been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on two second degree felony counts of arson.
The fire forced the closing of Millcreek Canyon and forced evacuations in housing divisions atop Millcreek Canyon and Parleys Canyon area.
Eight to ten homes in the Mt. Aire subdivision were evacuated and another 40 to 50 were placed on standby. Residents of the Church Fork subdivision were also been notified of possible evacuations.
Fifty firefighters from the Unified Fire Authority were called in to fight the fire. Incident commanders also called in air support.
Leslie Petersen, one those who was forced to evacuate, said authorities began banging on doors around 4:30 a.m. telling people to prepare to leave their homes by no later than 10 a.m.
“There are a lot of family memories here,” Petersen said. “This is a very special place. Being told to get out certainly gives you a twinge.”