Tooele residents rushed to warn neighbors as fire tore through town overnight

Posted at 9:48 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 23:48:28-04

TOOELE - Dozens of homeowners are breathing a sigh of relief Wednesday night after a fire that destroyed ten homes, and damaged a handful of others, avoided their residences.

"We are so thankful," said Martha Azbury, who lives across the street from the devastation. "When I opened my curtains last night and looked out, everything was on fire."

A street, about 20-feet in length, separates Azbury's side of the street from the homes hit by the fire. She said she ran up and down the street, waking people up and warning them the fire was coming.

"I was banging on the door," she added. "I probably gave them a heart attack."

Azbury then ran into her backyard and grabbed a hose to spray the homes around her to protect them. She quickly realized she wasn't alone.

"Everyone's got a garden hose," a neighbor said.

The heat from the opposite side of the street was so intense that the siding on Azbury's home began to buckle.

"We probably would have lost the whole thing," LouAnn Anderton said.

Anderton doesn't have insurance and thought her whole home would be lost. Instead, ash flew over the top of her home, igniting the back side of it. Fortunately, the damage was limited to the backside. She thinks firefighter's efforts to step between her home and the flames kept her from a total loss.

"They're heroes," she said.

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