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Officials: Cigarettes ignited St. George garage fire


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ST. GEORGE -- Firefighters say cigarettes tossed into a trash can likely ignited a garage fire in St. George that reached several propane tanks Friday night. They say it's something that could have easily been avoided.

Investigators say the cigarettes caught fire and the flames spread quickly to the garage of the house in the area of 2400 East and 750 North where the family kept supplies for their hot air balloon business.

Among those supplies were five or six propane tanks. When the flames reached them, there was a series of explosions.

"Storage of propane is always something you have to deal with because you have barbeques and camping equipment that's stored in your garages and sheds," said St. George Fire Capt. Jason Whipple.

The home is near a movie theater, and the smoke and flames attracted a fairly big crowd. Washington City firefighter Tyler Ames wasn't at the movies, but instead was driving home and captured home video of the fire.

"I saw the smoke and in between the buildings I could see the light from the fire so i went over," he told KSL over the phone Saturday. "You could feel the heat from the explosion even though we were about 25 to 30 yards away."

Firefighters put out the blaze in about 45 minutes. One of the family's sons was inside at the time but got out safely.

"A neighbor woke him up and got him out," said Whipple.

Fire crews had to destroy ceilings in the home to make sure the fire didn't get into the attic. There was also smoke damage inside the home and heat damage to a trailer.

Firefighters estimate the cost of the damage to reach up to $100,000.

The family is staying in a motel for now -- their electricity and water is still out.

E-mail: sdallof@ksl.com

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Sarah Dallof

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