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Neighbors share fond memories of 3 people killed in Delta house fire

Posted at 7:00 PM, Apr 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 08:55:59-04

DELTA, Utah — Residents of a small town in central Utah are mourning the loss of three people who died in a house fire Saturday afternoon.

The Millard County Sheriff's Office said there were a total of five people in the home when the fire started in Delta near 50 West and 300 South. Three were killed, and the other two — and a pet dog — survived with minor injuries.

The deceased victims were later identified as 53-year-old Ronald Smith, 62-year-old Patty Warren and 76-year-old Michael Smith Sr.

As of Monday, the causes of their deaths were still under review by the Medical Examiner's Office, and the cause of the fire was still under investigation by the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Kristina Woodmaster has lived right behind the home since 2017.

"It's still very real coming home, seeing three fire trucks and ambulances and watching everything," she said.

Woodmaster spoke fondly of the three victims who died in the fire.

"They used to buy treats for our kids and would come outside and see them with their dogs," she said. "They'd always say hi and have smiles on their faces and asked how the kids were doing."

It was a sentiment echoed by Dustie Murray, who lives across the street.

"The husband always played with my kids, and we'd always go visit, check up on them and all that," he said. "They're just really nice people."

The names nor ages of the victims have not yet been released. Officials say they will not share their identities until family members have been notified and autopsies are performed.

"I knew they were gone, but I still couldn't believe it," said Murray.

The sheriff's office and the Utah State Fire Marshal's Office are investigating the cause of the fire.

Murray spoke about what he'll remember most about his neighbors.

"Mike and his electric wheelchair racing my kids up and down the road when they were on their bikes, sitting there playing with them," he said.

Memories like that make it hard for this tight-knit neighborhood to deal with such a big loss.

"It's heartbreaking, really heartbreaking. It's definitely too close to home," said Woodmaster.