Cause of house fire and explosion in West Jordan still unknown

Nov 4, 2022, 6:15 PM | Updated: 7:06 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah — Investigators were still working to determine the cause of a house fire Friday, one day after an explosion and flames destroyed a home and damaged another in West Jordan.

Battalion Chief Clint Paxton said in his 24 years with the fire department he couldn’t easily remember a house fire that had left the kind of damage seen Thursday night.

“To have one with this amount of destruction is pretty rare,” Chief Paxton said, standing outside what was left of the home the next day.

You didn’t have to be in the neighborhood when it happened to understand how devastating the fire was. Sadly, the damage speaks for itself.

Jeff Stott has been neighbors with the family who lives there for about 17 years. He said his family was home around 3p.m. Thursday when they heard and felt a big explosion, “almost like an earthquake.”

“They called me a few minutes later and said the whole home was engulfed in flames and they were worried about our home,” Stott said.

Stott says his neighbor was inside the home during the explosion and called it amazing that she was able to get out of the home without any injuries. As of Friday night, the family’s two dogs were still missing and feared dead.

“It’s devastating. My heart goes out to them. They’re a really good family,” he said.

By the time Battalion Chief Paxton and his firefighters arrived on the scene, flames were already shooting from the attic.

“We go into every fire hoping we can save [the home],” Paxton said. “But we learned after a few minutes that wasn’t going to be the case.”

The roof and main floor ultimately collapsed and crumbled into the basement. Firefighters went on defense to contain the flames and prevent them from spreading to nearby homes like the Stott’s.

“My wife was really nervous our home was next,” Stott said.

The heat was so intense it melted their power meter, windows, and shutters and burned the side of their home. Firefighters stood their ground and managed to stop the flames from catching.

“They definitely saved our house for sure,” Stott said.

Paxton said there was nothing so far in the investigation to indicate the fire was anything more than a “tragic accident”. Investigators, he said, suspect the explosion may have come from the mechanical room in the basement but he said they would have a difficult time piecing together the cause.

“Was the fire started and then the explosion happened or did the explosion happen which caused the fire?” Paxton said.

“That’s what [investigators are] looking at. And with the amount of damage that’s here that’s just going to take time to start sifting through that and getting into there.”

“That’s the big mystery is we have no idea what happened,” Stott said.

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Cause of house fire and explosion in West Jordan still unknown