VEYO, Utah — A couple whose house became engulfed in flames in the early morning hours of June 8 owe their lives to a truck driver who spotted the fire, woke them, and carried one of them outside to safety, according to a report from the St. George News.
It was shortly after 3:00am when the Center Street fire was reported; the truck driver saw the blaze and called 911, according to Veyo Fire Chief Chris Larsen.
When Larsen arrived at the scene, he feared that the occupants of the house may still be inside unaware of the flames engulfing the home, but found them outside. It was then he learned of the driver's heroic actions, who had already left before the fire crew arrived.
One-third of the home was destroyed by the fire, with the rest sustaining heavy smoke and water damage.
Without the truck driver's actions to awaken the couple while they were still sleeping, the outcome may have been much worse.
“That’s straight hero stuff right there,” said Larsen.
According to the report from the News, Enterprise Mayor Brandon G. Humphries, said it was the home of his aunt and uncle, Shelly and John Bowler, and that the truck driver saved their lives by ringing the doorbell and banging on the door until they woke up, carrying his uncle out of the home. It was only once the couple was far away from the fire and safe that the driver “took off,” Humphries said.
Discarded rags on the back patio that contained oil-based stain ignited the fire, and left the home unsalvageable, according to Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Todd Hohbein.
Hohbein also said that oil-based stains and wood finishes or varnishes have a tendency to spontaneously heat as they dry and cure, so if rags or cloths wet with these finishes are mishandled, the spontaneous heating can accelerate and lead to ignition and a fire.
There are several such fires reported across Southern Utah each year, added Hohbein.
To prevent a deadly fire from oil-soaked rags, they should be placed in a container with a tight fitting lid, or inside of a Ziplock bag that is then filled with water and sealed, which will prevent the stain from oxidizing or heating up, he said.