Draper House Fire Leaves One Woman Dead, One Boy Injured

Jul 23, 2019, 5:44 AM | Updated: 8:10 pm

DRAPER, Utah – An early-morning house fire in Draper sent a young boy to the hospital and took the life of his grandma on Tuesday.

“(It’s) horrible – horrible to know you were there and the house was on fire, and you know somebody was still in there and you couldn’t get to them,” long-time friend and neighbor Jenny Orgill said. “It hasn’t hit them, for real, that she’s gone.”

The fire department identified the woman who died as 61-year-old Shelly O’Meara. An autopsy was being completed to determine the exact cause of death.

Orgill heard the sirens from police and firefighters race through her neighborhood sometime before 1 a.m. She ran outside to see the log home she’s visited countless times up in flames.

“It was lit up,” she said. “I mean it was lit up.”

“This was really challenging right from the start,” Draper Fire Chief Clint Smith said.

He said the difficult response began on the way to the fire when first responders had to make a detour around construction on 13800 South. That was followed by a hunt for the nearest fire hydrant and then finding the two-story home on fire down a narrow dirt road.

And then firefighters heard “there was concern that there may be one still unaccounted for,” Smith said.

Crews quickly determined there were five people at the home when the fire started: a mom, dad and their two children who all made it out alive. But their 6-year-old son was hurt and needed help and his grandmother was still missing.

“Horrible, horrible, horrible to hear a 6-year-old in so much pain from burns,” Orgill said, adding that it’s “nothing anybody can ever forget.”

But Orgill will also likely never forget her friend, the boy’s grandmother who died, and whose initial screams Orgill said alerted the rest of the family to get out of the house when the fire started.

“She saved their lives,” Orgill said. “If she would not have woken up and yelled for them. That fire spread so fast being a log cabin, and they would not have made it. I don’t believe they would have made it out.”

The 6-year-old suffered burns and inhalation injuries and was transported by helicopter to the University of Utah burn center.

A police officer and a firefighter had to be transported to Lone Peak hospital due to heat exhaustion and overexertion. Both have since been released.

“As you can tell, we’ve had some very high temperatures,” Smith said. “It’s just not cooling off very much at night.”

The home is located about 1,000 feet down a dirt lane off a road that’s under construction, authorities said. This made it difficult to access the site and secure a water supply. Smith said the fact that it was a log home made it even more difficult to battle the blaze.

He added the weather also impeded firefighting efforts.

“We have this high pressure that’s sitting over us that doesn’t allow for the smoke really to escape the area very well,” he said. “It just hampered the efforts of those first-arriving police officers.”

Smith said the cause of the fire was under investigation.

KSL TV’s Ladd Egan and Alexis Pineiro contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

JR Johansen with his Uvalde portraits...
Dan Rascon

Utah artist delivers portraits to families of Uvalde shooting victims

A Utah artist recently took a life-changing trip to a small Texas town to make a special delivery for residents who are still recovering from a horrific mass shooting.
1 day ago
Handcuffs in a jail cell FILE PHOTO (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...
Pat Reavy

Four teens looking for rival gang members charged in connection with triple killing at party

Four teen boys have been charged in connection with a gang-related shooting at a house party in West Jordan last year that left three people dead.
1 day ago
A side by side of the two photos. (KSL-TV)...
Lauren Steinbrecher

Utah woman’s engagement photo pays tribute to grandmother’s love story at Bryce Canyon National Park

A Utah couple's engagement photo recreating the bride-to-be's grandparents at Bryce Canyon National Park 63 years later is going viral, with a beautiful love story behind it.
1 day ago
Railroad crossing safety...
Katija Stjepovic

Bill to make Utah railroad crossings safer advances in House

As the beehive state continues to grow, more people are commuting, whether by car, train, or foot, we have seen more collisions on Utah`s railroads.
1 day ago
The Provo Airport is beyond capacity, and plans are being made for increased service and more growt...
Alex Cabrero

New Provo Airport discussing expansion after year of rapid growth

A new airport in Provo is already at capacity and continually growing -- discussions of expanding and additional service are already underway.
1 day ago
Inversion over Salt Lake City...
Jed Boal

UTA free fare year proposed to improve Utah’s air quality

The bipartisan Utah Legislative Clean Air Caucus unveiled several bills and appropriations Tuesday aimed at improving air quality in Utah.  
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Draper House Fire Leaves One Woman Dead, One Boy Injured