LOCAL NEWS

Orem homeowner fears larger fire was possible after group lit cottonwood seeds in his yard

May 28, 2024, 10:27 PM | Updated: 10:59 pm

OREM — An  Orem homeowner said a group—possibly a family—lit multiple small fires in his yard late Tuesday and he feared a much larger fire would have been possible due to a high volume of cottonwood seeds on his property.

“We were lucky this time that they were just small fires and they were able to put them out,” Karl Siebach said. “It’s just like fireworks. Once it gets going, it’s not going to stop.”

On Wednesday morning, Seibach reviewed surveillance footage and said he couldn’t believe what he saw.

“I’m assuming it’s some kind of family group late at night starting fires on other people’s properties,” Siebach said.

In the video shared with KSL, there appears to be a young boy, a girl and either an older teen or an adult, accompanied by a dog, lighting fires about 15 minutes apart in Siebach’s yard.

The boy at one point could even be heard stating, “Arson, you ever heard of arson?”

Several seconds after the fires started, the video showed the older teen or adult stomping out the fires.

One of the fires appeared to have been set close to Siebach’s car.

“It’s highly flammable and (the fire) can spread super fast if you’re unable to stop it,” Siebach said.

Siebach said he reported the matter to Orem police.

A spokesman for the department confirmed the report to KSL and said an officer was in contact with Siebach about the matter.

Siebach said the large amount of cottonwood seeds in his yard comes from trees in his neighbor’s yard.

The cottonwood seeds, however, are common in several areas around the Wasatch Front, and Siebach urged everyone to consider the potential hazard.

“It’s very scary when it’s caught on fire,” Siebach said. “It created fires that were luckily stoppable this time. I don’t know about next time.”

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Orem homeowner fears larger fire was possible after group lit cottonwood seeds in his yard