Two families in Thompson Springs lose homes, vehicles in early morning blaze
by Lisa J. Church
staff writer
Sep 20, 2012 | 2486 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Flames engulf a home in Thompson Springs on Saturday, Sept. 15. Firefighters from Thompson, Moab and Green River were called to extinguish the blaze, which burned two houses and a mobile home as well as several vehicles. Photos courtesy of Moab Valley Fire Protection District
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An early morning fire in Thompson Springs destroyed two houses and a mobile home on Saturday, Sept. 15, said Thompson Springs Fire Chief Dennis Frearson.

No one was injured in the fire, but a house and mobile home owned by Cecil and Ilene Gustin, along with a neighboring house belonging to Jay Kratz, were completely destroyed. The 2:57 a.m. blaze also destroyed several out buildings, an ATV and five vehicles, and charred surrounding brush, officials said.

A Utah Fire Marshall has investigated, but the cause of the fire is “undetermined,” according to Frearson.

“It could have been electrical or gas or something else,” he said. “The damage is so bad [that the cause] can’t be determined.”

The Moab Valley Fire Protection District and the Green River Fire Department assisted Thompson Springs firefighters in bringing the blaze under control. Moab firefighters initially sent one engine and four firefighters to the scene, but after learning that the fire was spreading, another four fire trucks and 11 firefighters from Moab responded, according to a news release from the Moab Fire Department. Green River sent three fire trucks and six firefighters to help.

Thompson firefighters stayed at the scene until 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon to make sure the fire was completely extinguished.

The Utah State Fire Marshal was called in to assist Grand County Sheriff’s detectives to try to find the source of the fire.

Grand County Sheriff’s deputies evacuated the surrounding homes and set up a staging area at the Thompson Springs Shell gas station along Interstate 70 about 30 miles northeast of Moab.

Frearson said the structures were a “complete loss,” but other families in the town of 45 people are helping those who lost their homes.

“We’re keeping them fed and stuff. But there’s not much we can do about their places,” Frearson said. “A.J. Rogers has donated his tractor to help clean up. And anything else they need, we’ll help out. It’s a pretty good community here.”

He said the Thompson Springs Fire Department is in need of a newer pump truck and currently does not have a vehicle that “can handle that kind of fire.” The fire district is in the process of seeking a grant from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board to help purchase a new fire truck, he said.

“It’s really good that Moab and Green River showed up to help us out. Otherwise, other properties would have probably been destroyed in this,” Frearson said.

The families are in need of any and all items of clothing or other donations, said Thompson Springs resident Brenda Rogers. Anyone who is interested in helping the families may contact Sharon Frearson, 801-391-5123, or Brenda Rogers, 435-220-1065 after 5 p.m.

The Moab Fire Department was also called out on Thursday, Sept. 13 to a fire at the Moab landfill on Sand Flats Road. That blaze charred approximately one-half acre, fire officials said. The fire was brought under control and the site was turned over to the Grand County Solid Waste District to be covered with dirt, officials said. A 20-foot by 20-foot area reignited on Sunday, Sept. 16 and firefighters were called back to the area to extinguish the blaze.

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