Garage fire destroys Tooele family’s Christmas decorations, traditions, tools and more

Oct 6, 2023, 8:50 PM | Updated: 8:54 pm

TOOELE – A Tooele family is urging compassion towards others in the wake of a devastating fire that destroyed years of personal belongings.

At approximately 3:00 a.m. Thursday, Dani Spendlove woke to a fire consuming the detached garage behind her home near 100 North and 100 East.

“I heard this noise, and it wasn’t a normal noise, it was a like a pop and a crash and now I know it was the windows exploding from the fire,” Spendlove said.

While calling 911 Spendlove gathered her four children up in blankets and rushed them out the front door, worried the fire might spread to the main house. Fortunately, the family lives behind the Tooele City Fire Department and help arrived quickly and the fire was contained to the garage.

“I’m so glad it’s not my family, I’m so glad it’s not our house,” Spendlove said. “I love my house, my 100-year-old beautiful craftsman house, so it’s just been purely gratitude.”

The fire destroyed the family’s recently stocked freezer, bins of winter clothing, work tools, and lawn and gardening equipment. It also destroyed many of the kids’ toys and the family’s Christmas decorations and traditions.

“We would wrap 25 Christmas books and open a book every day as a countdown to Christmas, those are all gone,” Spendlove said. “Christmas tree ornaments that we’ve had for the 14 years we’ve been married, and some that my husband and I brought from our childhood.”

Since the fire, friends and neighbors have reached out offering support. When asked if the family needed any donations, Dani politely declined saying she hoped insurance would cover most of the damage, and instead encouraged those considering donating to her family to look for someone that might be quietly struggling.

“That five or ten dollars you would have sent to us, take somebody out to ice cream and let somebody talk,” Spendlove said.

Spendlove recalled many times in her life, prior to this fire, when she could have used someone reaching out to check on her.

“I think if I could ask anything of anybody it would be think about who might have those invisible fires and just reach out to somebody, even if they look like they’re doing great on the outside. I think sometimes the ones that look the best on the outside are the ones struggling the most on the inside,” she said.

While investigators try to determine what caused the fire, Spendlove is now trying to catalog everything that was in the garage.

“As I start listing things more and more comes to my mind,” she said. “It’s not stuff that we need for everyday life or necessities, but it’s things that enhance those experiences that you only get once a year or certain times of the year. “

Spendlove said she’s grateful for all the neighbors and even strangers who have reached out to offer help, she said she’s extremely grateful for all the hugs.

“There is no loneliness in this kind of trial, everybody is here and everybody is asking how can we help,” she said. “It’s made me think a lot about those times in my life and those people that they need this kind of rally but there is no sky-high flames indicating these people need help.”

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Garage fire destroys Tooele family’s Christmas decorations, traditions, tools and more