LAYTON, Utah, Feb. 15, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A Layton family of five has been displaced after their home caught fire Monday morning.
According to Doug Bitton, Layton City Fire Department’s spokesman, dispatchers received a call at 7:30 a.m. from a man saying that his house, at 174 E. 950 South, was on fire. While he was on the phone with dispatchers, he was able to safely evacuate his wife and three children.
“The husband heard some things outside and when he looked he noticed something on his porch was on fire,” Bitton said. “He tried to use a fire extinguisher but was unsuccessful.”
The fire had extended from the back deck up into the attic by the time crews arrived. Bitton explained that when homes have attic fires it can cause the structure of the home to weaken quickly.
Bitton said it took nearly 25 minutes for crews to suppress the fire.
“The home is not habitable, and we estimate the damage to be almost $100,000,” Bitton said. “The deck is a total loss as well as portions of living space. The family was offered relocation with the help of the Red Cross but they declined because they have family members they can stay with.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation but Bitton said the family was using flavored wood chips to barbecue the night before, and disposed of the wood chips in a terracotta pot that contained potting soil.
“It is being considered as accidental, and we were able to determine the fire started on the deck,” Bitton said. “Two things the public needs to be aware of are that potting soil when dry is made of ordinary combustibles and is not really all earth soil. Discarded cigarettes and smoldering items should not be placed in or near this material.”
Bitton also said smoke alarms did not activate in the home until fire crews first entered.
“Smoke alarms are always great to alert people for an early evacuation,” Bitton said. “But the problem is when attics and inside walls are on fire, the smoke is delayed and doesn’t enter in the living space fast enough for the detector to activate.”
No one was injured in the fire, and one of the children informed firefighters that his frog and fish were still inside his room. They were also rescued safely.