SALT LAKE CITY - The ensign peak fire tore through dry grass Tuesday afternoon, threatening homes and sending three firefighters to the hospital. Two suffered heat exhaustion and the third a leg injury.
Several residents also suffered from smoke inhalation while trying to protect their homes.
“When I realized it was the hillside, I punched it and drove like a maniac to get here,” said Brad Leigh, a resident of the neighborhood that was threatened by the fire.
Leigh watched as the flames grew.
“Over there on that ridge they were 20 feet tall when the wind really kicked up,” Leigh said. “As soon as it picked up, it would turn into a tornado of fire, you could see the fire spinning.”
Feeling helpless, Leigh turned on the sprinklers and grabbed a garden hose as he and his neighbors tried to protect their homes.
“These guys were out here with a weed eater trying to cut their grass,” Leigh said.
When it seemed like there was no escape the heroes showed up.
“It was pretty wild, then the firefighters arrived, and brought the hose around the house here and through the yard,” Leigh said.
The flames damaged the exterior of one house, but the homeowners, whose backyards are now charred and black, say they're beyond grateful for the crews who did everything to save their homes.
“They literally showed up right on time they saved the day. The firefighters saved the day,” Leigh said.
Investigators say a fire that took over part of this area about a month ago was started by a homeless camp. Crews don’t have a cause on this fire but they are investigating.