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SLC fire crews battle heat while preventing fire from spreading to foothills

Jul 24, 2023, 10:07 PM | Updated: Jul 25, 2023, 5:45 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A family has been displaced after crews responded to a two-alarm blaze Monday afternoon in the foothills area of Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City Fire Department Division Chief Dan Walker said the house fire on Devonshire Drive was reported by a passerby who saw the smoke. He said SLC Fire called additional units before the first truck even arrived.

“They saw all the smoke. They called a second alarm at that point before they ever even arrived to have additional crews responding,” Walker said. “That puts us almost about 40 firefighters here that put this out.”

He said the fire appeared to start in the garage, and no one was at home at the time. Because the house sits right on the edge of the Foothills, they became concerned it would turn into a wildland fire.

“We had a huge risk of it going into the interface up the hillside,” Walker said.

A Salt Lake City firefighter cooling off from the natural heat and the heat from the house fire. (KSL TV)

They also had to closely monitor crews to ensure they weren’t cooking in their heavy gear in the 90-degree temperatures.

“It’s like being in a thermal oven,” Walker said. “You put all that insulation on, just like we’re in an oven mitt, to keep from getting burned.”

Because of that second alarm, they had enough firefighters to take turns with water and shade breaks.

“As soon as an air bottle gets low or gets too hot, crews can rotate out,” Walker explained.

They worked quickly to stop the fire from making it too far into the home and had it knocked down in about 30 minutes. It stayed away from the hillside while firefighters stayed away from heat exhaustion.

“Fortunately, they were able to save a good portion of the home, the majority of it,” Walker said.

Still, the fire department said the family is currently displaced. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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SLC fire crews battle heat while preventing fire from spreading to foothills