Sudden, stiff winds and the lack of nearby fire hydrants combined to foil efforts to stop a fire from gutting a two-story house in the Tooele County town of Rush Valley.
Wade Mathews, Tooele County Emergency Management spokesman, said firefighters initially were near control of the 9 a.m. Tuesday blaze — then 30 mph winds kicked up, whipping the flames to new life.
“Firefighters had to evacuate the home as the second story began to collapse,” Mathews said Wednesday. “There are no fire hydrants in Rush Valley and water for fighting the fire was transported with water tenders from the town of Stockton, approximately five miles away.”
No injuries were reported. The home’s two residents were being aided by the Red Cross with food, clothing and shelter needs.
Mathews said firefighters had to adopt a defensive strategy as the windblown inferno consumed the home, but they were able to keep flames from spreading to a neighboring residence.
Matthews said Wednesday that the State Fire Marshal’s Office was heading up the investigation into the fire’s cause. Matthews noted that there was a wood-burning stove in the basement of the home — the same area where the homeowner reported that the fire had started — but he stressed that the official cause would likely not be determined for a few more days.
In all, nearly 40 firefighters from Tooele County, city and volunteer crews from other neighboring communities battled the blaze.