Family That Lost Home In Wildfire Showing Compassion For Those Accused Of Starting It
BOUNTIFUL, Utah – A Utah family that lost its home in a wildfire showed compassion toward those now accused of starting it.
The U.S. Forest Service, along with the Utah Division of Forestry and State Lands, said two people have been identified and are facing charges for starting the Gun Range Fire that raced out of control a week ago in the hills above Bountiful.
Fire investigators said the two adults, who have not been identified, built a campfire and then failed to properly extinguish it.
“The fire was built, attended and then after that, we believe they left the scene and the fire was not adequately put out,” said Jason Curry with the Utah Division of Forestry and State Lands. “They are cooperating.”
Daniel Fisher, who is one of three homeowners who lost their home in the fire, was digging through the rubble Monday afternoon, searching for valuables that may have survived.
He said he carries no ill feelings towards those accused of starting the fire.
“I don’t have any venom or vengeance in me right now, and it’s not going to benefit me or them to chew on them or whatever,” Fisher said. “I’m sure that these people realize just how serious this has become. I am glad that nobody got hurt and I guess that those individuals lucked out, that they didn’t hurt anybody.”
Fisher’s daughter Shelia Hare said they believe those who started it are probably young adults, maybe in their early 20s or even late-teenage years.
“We want to extend some grace to them – we are thinking about their parents and their families,” Hare said. “We do not want their lives destroyed over this. There is enough destruction that has happened.”
Curry said the state could go after the suspects to help pay for the expense in fighting the fire. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the cost is over $500,000.
“Usually we will try to pursue the responsible parties on wildfires that are human-caused to get restitution for what happened,” Curry said.
Hare said she doesn’t believe that should happen.
“How could two young people compensate for this level of destruction?” she said. “What, garnish their wages from Burger King?”
The Fishers said they are grateful for the outpouring of love and support they have received. They plan to rebuild their home and said Ivory Homes told them the company will help rebuild the home and will not charge the family for labor.
“I have a lot to live for,” Fisher said. “This house, I’m proud to report, will be rebuilt.”
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