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Utah family loses home to fire just before Christmas

Published December 22, 2012 5:27 pm

Blaze • No one injured, but house, cars and trailer destroyed; offers of help pouring in.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A West Haven family of seven has lost their home to a fire just four days before Christmas.

The blaze started Friday in the garage of the home near 3600 West and 4150 South. Neighbors told KUTV that they heard a loud boom before the flames took over the entire house at about 9:30 p.m.

About 25 firefighters from four jurisdictions — Weber Fire District, Ogden, Roy and Riverdale — descended on the fully engulfed home, but "it was a big fire," said Weber Fire Marshal Ted Black.

"Because of the normal things we have in the garage [which act as accelerants], the fire spread quickly," Black said.

The family members were out for dinner when the fire started. KUTV reports that multiple animals live inside the house, and it was unknown how many got out.

After several hours of fighting the fire — including two to three hours of putting out hot spots — the home was a complete loss. In addition to the contents of the house, the family also lost two cars and a trailer.

Black estimated the damage at $600,000.

"It's a sad thing to lose your home [just] before Christmas," Black said.

But they are not without support. The local bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell Zesiger, was on scene almost as soon as firefighters were to help the family.

The fire's cause remains under investigation. Black noted that due to the extensive damage, the cause may prove difficult to determine.

Because the lots in the neighborhood are large, firefighters were never concerned that the fire would spread to another house.

The fire flared again from the smoldering remains Saturday morning, and firefighters returned to douse it. Black said they would keep a fire engine on scene through the morning to ensure it stays out.

Paul Cowley, his wife, four children and a son-in-law lived in the home and are all right, though the loss has been hard on them, said Cowley's sister-in-law Kellie Cowley.

"The ward, the neighborhood and the community stake [have been] supportive and helpful and rallied around them," Kellie Cowley said.

The Zesiger household's phones have been ringing off the hook all day Saturday with people wanting to help, said the bishop's wife, Misty Zesiger.

Misty Zesiger said that people can donate to the family through The Paul Cowley Family account at America First Credit Union.

Salt Lake Tribune reporter Kimball Bennion contributed to this story.


Twitter: @mikeypanda




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