Historic building in Weber Canyon destroyed by fire started by lightning
Aug 2, 2023, 2:29 PM | Updated: 2:33 pm
(South Weber Fire Department)
WEBER COUNTY, Utah — A century-old building in Weber Canyon was a total loss after a lightning strike caught it on fire Tuesday afternoon.
Mountain Green Fire Protection District said lightning hit a power pole at the Rocky Mountain Power Hydroelectric facility in Weber Canyon at approximately 6 p.m.
“The ensuing fire burned through the pole and caused a transformer to fall and set the 100-year-old spillway control house ablaze,” stated the fire district’s Facebook post.
The fire district said crews were “helpless” as they couldn’t approach the building due to the live wires and equipment on fire that could threaten firefighters’ lives.
“Access was further hampered by the location of the structure five feet from the Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way,” the post stated.
Firefighters waited for RMP crews to arrive, but the crews were delayed due to other thunderstorms in the area. It wasn’t until the pole broke and rained flaming debris on the house and grass, that firefighters began to act.
“Water had to be lobbed from a great distance onto the fire, due to its inaccessible and possibly electrified location,” the post stated.
The fire district said there were no fire hydrants in the area, forcing firefighters to “draft” water from a nearby river. While drafting water, crews had to keep the fire engine from sinking in the mud.
“Wires were (also) threatening to drop onto the metal bridge of the dam or electrify the metal fence that encircles the facility,” according to Mountain Green Fire.
The fire district said this was a “very challenging” fire because firefighters had to wait for RMP crews to turn off the power to the live wires.
No injuries were reported and the building was demanded a total loss. An RMP representative said the building was set to be demolished before the fire in the next several months.
“Our sincere thanks to all agencies who responded and especially to our ‘silent partner’ in all our responses, Weber 911 Dispatch, our guardian angels who watch over our safety, maintaining communications with command and summoning resources instantly at our request,” stated the fire district post.
Mountain Green Fire Protection District, Morgan County Fire & EMS, Weber Fire District, and the South Weber Fire District responded to this fire.