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Investigators say fire that destroyed 10 homes in Moab was human-caused

MOAB, Utah – Investigators are trying to figure out what sparked a fire that destroyed 10 homes in Moab Tuesday.

Investigators believe the fire that started in the woods near Cinema Court Apartments around 5:50 Tuesday afternoon was human-caused. The Grand County Sheriff asked the public for any tips that might help them solve the case.

The fire spread rapidly through the neighborhood along Pack Creek, burning down 10 homes. Civilians stepped in along firefighters to try and keep the flames back.

“The private parties in there started bringing out more garden hoses. There were, I think, four or five people in there on little garden hoses trying to keep it from flaring back up again,” said Richard Coffinberry. “The flames would come back up and you’d squirt it. Some would come up over here. You’d squirt that. Come up over here, you squirt that.”

Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox toured the area Wednesday afternoon along with local officials. He praised the efforts of everyone who tried to help.

“When you walk through that area, you realize very quickly that it could have been much, much worse if not for the heroic efforts of neighbors, friends, volunteers, and of course our first responders,” Cox said.

A few firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. There were no serious injuries. There is, however, a lot of rebuilding to be done.

“All we did was walk off with what we had in our hands and the dog,” said Rick Carrigan.

Carrigan and his wife escaped the flames along with their dog, Buster, but their home was destroyed.

“Went back today and took a look at what we had left, and it’s nothing left but just a pile smoldering,” Carrigan said. “It’s all done now. It’s time to sweep it off and start over again,”

Carrigan and his wife are staying with family members in town. Several local hotels have offered free rooms for fire victims and evacuees.

Lt. Gov. Cox said the fire underscores just how dangerous fire conditions are across Utah right now.

“It’s definitely a wake-up call. It could be a long year,” he said as he walked through the rubble.

He urged everyone across the state to be careful with anything that could produce a spark.

“Please be careful. Talk to your kids about the dangers of playing with fire. Make sure that when you’re towing, that your chains aren’t dragging. All it takes is one spark to start a catastrophic fire,” Cox said.

Cox said several of the homes were uninsured. There is an account called “Cinema Court Fire” set up at Grand County Credit Union for anyone who would like to donate to help those families.

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