Provo residents cleaning up after high winds spark fire

Posted at 8:37 PM, Jun 13, 2013

PROVO, Utah - A major cleanup at four homes in north Provo is underway, but residents are glad that at least the homes are still standing.

"And I talked to the fireman and he said it's really a miracle because we really thought your house was gone, these four house, he said really we do not know why your house is still here," said Tammy Yorgason.

She lives near 175 East and 2950 South, right by the Provo country club.

Thursday at around 8 p.m., wind gusts snapped a power pole near 3000 South University Avenue. Dry grass ignited and flames crawled up a hillside, damaging backyards at four homes.

The flames scorched fences, bushes, even a 100-year-old children's playhouse. Wayne and Susan Pierce tried putting the flames out themselves.

"Those winds were so fast and furious, we had the hoses out and there was no way we could even begin to make a dent," said Susan Pierce. "All we could see is 30- and 40-foot flames coming above our roof and I thought, 'We're done, this house is a goner, there's no way it can survive this heat.'"

The couple evacuated, certain their home was gone. Their neighbors, the Yorgasons, were gone at the time, but came home fearing their house was next. Their vinyl fence didn't stand a chance but in the end, firefighters saved the homes.

Aside from smoke damage, the structures are fine for the most part, and no one was hurt.

"I'm so grateful for the firefighters that came and helped our families and our neighborhood.  I can't say thank you enough to the fire fighters," said Yorgason.

The cleanup will take weeks and cost thousands of dollars. Homeowners say they're ready to put up firewalls to keep something like this from happening again.