3-alarm fire prompts evacuations in Woods Cross

Posted at 3:01 PM, Aug 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-05 23:59:48-04

WOODS CROSS, Utah -- A hay barn in Woods Cross burned to the ground in a matter of minutes, taking roughly $300,000 worth of hay with it and prompting evacuations in nearby homes.

"That was his life's savings," said Justin Dursteler, a man who was helping the barn's owner load hay.

He said, suddenly, he saw a spark near the tractor ignite a nearby hay pile.

"It was instantaneous," he added. "Words can't say when you watch thousands and thousands of dollars burn up. It's pretty sad."

Making the news ever harder to swallow, Dursteler said he learned his friend didn't have any insurance.

Fire investigators did not confirm the cause of the fire on Friday night. They said it would be a number of days before a report was finalized. Nearby homes were threatened by the flames as well.

"When our units arrived, they could see the roof was starting to catch," said Chief Jeff Bassett, with South Davis Metro Fire.

He said firefighters went into one home that had caught on fire.

"The encountered some children," he said.

All of the children were rescued and are unharmed.

Still, the Chief of Police for Woods Cross expressed concern over a delay that prevented police officers for three or four minutes. Speaking on the phone Friday, he said a number of his officers couldn't get to the fire because of a stationary Union Pacific train that was blocking the road.

He said it took three or four minutes to convince the train conductor to finally move it out of the way.

In a written response to the allegations, Union Pacific stated:

"Currently this incident is under investigation. Union Pacific will conduct a full and complete investigation into this matter and cannot comment further while the investigation is ongoing.

Union Pacific values the strong relationships we have developed with local law enforcement in the Salt Lake City area and across our network."