Five people were injured and one home was damaged by a fast-moving grass fire near Salt Lake City’s Ensign Peak on Tuesday. And Salt Lake City Fire officials say it could have been much worse.
They had evacuated 40 houses as flames spread through about 100 acres near the state’s Capitol.
“It was a pretty tremendous effort, honestly, to knock down a fire like that in this heat, in two and a half hours,” said Audra Sorensen, a spokeswoman for the fire department. “Our firefighters were definitely aggressive, and strategic, and they did great work.”
Three of those firefighters were hospitalized. Two suffered from heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. One had an injured leg. Between 50 and 60 firefighters responded to the fire.
Two residents also were hospitalize with smoke inhalation.
The fire melted the siding on one home, but no other structure was damaged.
Smoke from the fire could be seen throughout the valley. And helicopters and portable water tanks were deployed to fight the blaze. By about 7 p.m., the department said the fire was roughly 95 percent contained.
“It is under control and now we are just looking for hotspots,” Sorensen said.
Noting the dry conditions and the potential danger of fireworks or outdoor grilling, she said, “Maybe today is the best day for a swim."
Fireworks are banned in this area. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
Jane Marquardt said the fire came within four feet of her home. Neighbors helped to spray the area with their hoses, Marquardt said, until firefighters “came in droves.”
"They've been wonderful," she said. "They got right on this fire and saved our house."
Marquardt said her home experienced some smoke and landscaping damage but no structural damages.
Fire crews promised to watch the area over night to make sure it doesn’t restart.