Dog Alerts Neighbors As Homeowners Escape Millcreek House Fire

Aug 20, 2019, 5:09 AM

MILLCREEK, Utah — Fire ripped through a house early Monday morning, forcing its four occupants out and leaving neighbors apprehensive about the possibility of the flames spreading to their properties.

Eric Birkeland said he was awakened after 1 a.m. by his dog barking, looked outside and saw flames rising from his neighbor’s house, which is located on Arnett Dr. east of 2300 East.

“(The flames) looked at least probably 20 feet high,” Birkeland said. “It was just a ball of fire back there.”

Unified Fire Authority spokesman Matthew McFarland said Monday evening the cause of the fire remained undetermined.

Damage was estimated at more than $100,000, according to McFarland, with the garage appearing to be a total loss and the roof likely requiring replacement.

McFarland said the fire happened just hours before the homeowners’ two children were supposed to attend their first day of school.

Birkeland said he scrambled to get his family outside in case the fire spread.

“The neighbors — they were telling us embers were falling on our roof,” said Birkeland. “It was incredibly hot!”

Birkeland said he was glad his dog, a 4-year-old Labrador named Modalen, started waking people up with his barking.

“He was up on his back legs, front paws up against the gate there, just barking and ready to get out of there,” Birkeland described, referencing the dog’s kennel, which sits against a back yard wall that divides the two properties.

Birkeland’s 17-year-old daughter, Isabelle, said she also saw the flames after she too was awakened by barking and the other commotion.

“Modalen obviously couldn’t have known what was exactly happening, but he knew that something wasn’t right,” she posted to Instagram. “Because he knew something was wrong, he did not stop barking until someone came outside.”

The teen said the dog seldom barks, other than to alert the family to trespassers.

“I’m just so grateful that he was there to bark at us and get us up!” she said.

Birkeland said that’s exactly what he wants in a dog.

“You don’t want them barking all the time,” Birkeland said. “Just bark at something that’s not normal.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Karah Brackin

Father, daughter reunited after finding each other through DNA testing

Thirty some years ago in Utah, the decision to put a baby girl up for adoption was made. Since then, a dad’s search to find his daughter never stopped. Neither did hers.
11 hours ago
Ashley Moser

Local businesses, city gear up to host 100,000 visitors during NBA All-Star weekend

Local businesses are gearing up for big crowds for the NBA All-Star Game in two weeks.
11 hours ago
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: How do you know if your donation really gets to those who need it?

Fundraising runs rampant on social media, but how do you know if your donation really gets to those who need it?
11 hours ago
Josh Ellis

Elk herd returns to SLC’s Foothill Drive; one hit in crash overnight

UDOT and the Utah DWR are urging drivers to be on alert as a herd of elk returned to roads near the mouth of Parleys Canyon Friday morning.
11 hours ago
Shelby Lofton

Steal. Sell. Repeat. Wave of construction thefts leaves Utah buyers stuck paying the price

They thought it was a steal. Turns out, they got scammed. The law caught up to a man who stole construction equipment and sold it to unwitting Utahns, but his victims say they’re the ones paying for his crimes.
1 day ago
Unified Police Department squad vehicle. (KSL TV)...
Eliza Pace

Woman in custody after crashing into 3 civilian cars and 3 police cars in Midvale chase

A police pursuit resulted in damages to three Unified Police Department cars and three civilian cars Thursday night.
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.
Dog Alerts Neighbors As Homeowners Escape Millcreek House Fire