Flames engulfing a home in Nibley, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021 (Courtesy: Mike Hofler on Facebook)
NIBLEY — Authorities investigating the cause of Sunday’s blaze that destroyed a family’s home in Nibley, suspect the flames started in the garage from an accidental cooking fire. The blaze occurred just after 12:15 p.m. near 2825 S. 600 W.
Cache County Fire Chief Rod Hammer said investigators from the county and State Fire Marshal’s Office are still finalizing their report. They suspect the fire started from a propane grill, the homeowners were using to cook with inside their garage. When the propane tanks ignited, flames quickly spread through the home, complicating firefighting efforts.
According to emergency radio traffic, the homeowner called 911 to report the blaze. They said they had been barbecuing inside the garage when the grill started on fire. The mother, father and two daughters were all able to safely escape without injury.
A Cache County sheriff’s deputy was nearby and arrived on the scene 90 seconds later. He reported the garage was already fully engulfed in flames and “the house was going to go up”.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, flames had fully engulfed the structure and were spreading throughout the attic. The fire was so intense, crews were unable to enter inside and had to try and extinguish it from outside.
Hammer said the fire was not a typical blaze. It grew fast than normal, likely because of the propane tanks inside the garage.
Since the home was deemed unsafe for firefighters to enter, it took several hours to extinguish the flames.
Nibley City contracts with Hyrum City for its fire services. Due to the size of Sunday’s blaze, a second alarm was issued, paging additional fire departments from Wellsville, Paradise, Mendon, Smithfield and Logan. Most of those agencies are staffed by volunteers, which some have criticized for not being able to arrive on scene quicker.
Hammer defended firefighters efforts and said, “This was a definite spot on fire response.” Sunday’s arrival times, between 5-10 minutes, is what he would expect from volunteer fire units.
The house was a total loss, leaving the family with very little. Several local organizations and religious groups are providing assistance.