NewsLocal News


Close call: Fast actions from neighbors, firefighters minimize wildfire damage to Tooele homes

Posted at 9:55 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 23:55:42-04

TOOELE, Utah — A fast-moving grass fire in Tooele on Sunday prompted quick action from neighbors and firefighters.

“She was talking to me through FaceTime, and all a sudden the firemen were knocking on the door, telling them to get out,” said Mark Mooney, whose wife and family were at home when the fire sparked and quickly burned across a dry field. “Moments after that, our fence was already on fire.”

Mooney’s fence was burned and the side of their home received damage from the heat. Another home nearby was also damaged due to the fire.

“We need to have an exit plan, maybe a to-go bag ready to go if something like this happens,” said Mooney. “Everybody’s OK, so we can all learn from this and we’ll just be prepared if an accident like this happens again.”

Mooney said he’s thankful for neighbors who rushed to his family's home to knock down the burning fence before it spread, and then sprayed the area with hoses. Firefighters from Tooele City and North Tooele Fire District arrived with water tenders and brush trucks and worked to stop the spread before the flames could reach more properties.

“Every house around here, everyone was in action trying to do what they could to keep the fire from getting to the houses,” said Daryl Ratajczak, who lives in the neighborhood.

Ratajczak's family started watering down nearby vegetation when the flames started moving towards the residential area.

“Do what you can to protect your house and make sure you have defensible space, and make sure you don’t have combustibles against your house," he advised.

The fire burned in the Pine Canyon Conservation Area, and its cause is under investigation. However, residents tell FOX 13 News that they’re convinced it was human-caused based on events that took place shortly before.

This fire was named the Meadowbrook Fire (it burned near Meadowbrook Drive) and burned roughly 25 acres. It serves as a reminder for residents who border the wildland-urban interface or areas that are fire-prone to create defensible space around their property to protect their homes. Tips on how to do this can be found on the national "Ready" campaign's website.