Homeowners sift through remains as Moab fire evacuation is lifted

Jun 14, 2018, 6:14 PM | Updated: 9:21 pm

MOAB, Utah – Evacuation orders in Moab were lifted Thursday, allowing homeowners their first chance to assess the damage after a fire destroyed 10 homes.

“I don’t believe we have very much to pick through today,” Rick Carrigan said as he arrived at what was left of his home on Wasatch Avenue.

Carrigan and his wife escaped the fire with their dog, Buster. Carrigan tried to stop the flames with a garden hose, but the fire moved too quickly.

“About the time I got to the end of the sidewalk, the sheriff’s deputy was there telling us we’ve got to go,” he said.

Carrigan was able to find some important documents inside what was once his office, and even some keepsakes that had survived the fire.

“Little memories with a lot of soot on them,” he said.

A block or so away, Janet Gay was facing a similar situation. She watched her home burn from a nearby bridge.

“The flames started shooting out the top and the firemen were right here squirting water trying so hard to save it, but it just didn’t happen,” she said.

Inside the blackened remains of Gay’s home, there were some surprises. Her hope chest survived the fire. Inside was her late mother’s memory book, a jacket someone had made for her, and her granddaughter’s toys.

Gay has worked as a nurse at a local hospital. She said colleagues were taking up donations for her. She said it was a difficult position to be in.

“It’s really hard. I like to give. It’s hard to get,” she said.

As homeowners searched through the remains, investigators were still searching for answers. They said Wednesday that the fire was human-caused, but did not know exactly how it started. They have asked the public to send police any information they might have.

Some of the homes that burned were uninsured.

To help families with expenses, Grand County Credit Union set up an account. People interested in donating should ask for the “Cinema Court Fire” account.

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Homeowners sift through remains as Moab fire evacuation is lifted