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Residents sift through wreckage after fire destroys homes in Tooele

Posted at 7:40 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 23:48:54-04

TOOELE, Utah -- Dozens of people are without a place to sleep Wednesday night after a large fire destroyed several homes in Tooele.

“I just can't believe all of this is gone,” said Mike Adams, a US Army Veteran and victim of the fire.

Adams said he has found pieces of his military memorabilia burned in his shed that was charred by the blaze.

“I haven't dug through it,” Adams said. "So I've lost my Purple Heart.”

Adams said he was medically discharged in 1997.

“I fought in Panama and I got blown up in the first Gulf War," he said.

He said he regrets not placing his precious awards and his father's military medals from Vietnam somewhere in his home, which was spared unlike so many others across the street.

Bill Fuwell’s house of 12 years was among those that were destroyed.

“With the winds blowing to the south, it hit me before I knew it,” Fuwell said.

Fuwell had just built a new deck, but you wouldn't know it looking at the pile of charred debris. He did all he could to protect his home after his grandson woke him up.

“I ran out with no shoes on, turned on my tap hose, drug the hose out here and started spraying water trying to save what I could save,” Fuwell said.

But he couldn't save anything, except the most important thing, his family. Both he and Adams are feeling lucky to be alive.

“I just can't believe all of this is gone,” Adams said.

Police believe the fire was intentionally set, and they are asking the public for help finding a man who may have been in the area when the fire broke out.  Police say the man is not a person of interest or a suspect, but they believe he may have information that could aid their investigation.

Fox 13 News is partnering with Zions Bank to help those affected by the fire. Click here to learn how you can help.