COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — A house fire late Sunday night left a family homeless, and they might not even know it yet.
Neighbors say the family of eight who lived in the home near 2200 East and 7500 South had left on Sunday for Wendover, so no one was home during the fire.
Crews were called to the house about 10:20 p.m. by several neighbors who saw heavy smoke and flames coming from the front of the home, Unified Fire Authority Capt. Clint Mecham said.
"I heard someone yelling, ‘Help!' I looked outside, and the house was on fire," said neighbor Justin Johnson. "It seemed like it was gonna be engulfed in minutes."
"My sister ran and grabbed the hose, and the neighbor who is next to me was outside with his hose," said Glennette Romero, who also lives in the neighborhood.
"These houses are so close together, and the flames were billowing out of the garage. I'm really blown away that it didn't hit the house next to them," Johnson said.
He and other neighbors say that didn't happen thanks to quick action from the Unified Fire Authority.
"While I was on the phone with 911, the police arrived. (It took) three to five minutes at most," Johnson said.
The first arriving crews immediately called for a second alarm, in part because they didn't know if the family was still inside.
Because of the closeness of the houses and massive flames pouring from the windows of the home, police officers went door to door to tell people to get out of their houses.
In the end, the fire was contained to the one home, but it sustained severe damage. A few animals were inside, and firefighters were able to rescue all of them.
"As far as I know, I don't even think the neighbors know their house burnt yet," Romero said.
Early Monday afternoon, investigators were still trying to determine a cause for the fire. No word yet on who the family is or if they've been notified by police.
Contributing: Pat Reavy