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Fire destroys Summit County home, displaces 7

(JR McRay)


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FRANCIS, Summit County — A large house fire in the small community of Francis caused significant damage to the home and destroyed most of a family's possessions on Sunday.

"The entire roof structure is gone. It took two hours to actually get it extinguished. Significant damage. Possible total loss. Very big fire," said Park City fire spokesman Casey Vorwaller.

The family has five children ranging in age from approximately 3 to 16 years old, Vorwaller said, and no one in the family was injured. All of the items they had acquired for Christmas, however, were destroyed in the blaze at 416 Aspen Road.

Vorwaller said there had already been an "incredible outpouring" late Sunday from neighbors to help the family get back on their feet. There was additional talk of organized efforts in the coming days to help the family and turn the fire into a "positive experience," he said.

The fire was reported just before 5 p.m. The father, his children and two visiting missionaries were having dinner while their mother was visiting neighbors, Vorwaller said.

"He heard kind of a popping noise up in the attic space. About that same time, a neighbor came over to tell him there was fire and smoke coming out of his roof," he said.

Neighbors started coming over to help get "a few things out" of the house, but the flames spread too quickly on the roof of the 5,000-square-foot home.

The smoke detectors in the house never went off, meaning the fire was spreading in the attic, according to Vorwaller.

"Preliminary investigation is really pointing to a chimney chase fire," he said.

The homeowner told fire investigators he used his fireplace about every other day. Vorwaller said there have been a lot of home fires in that area due to buildup in the flue.

"That chimney is really sticking out as a high possibility (of causing the fire)," he said, adding that the incident is a good reminder for all residents with fireplaces.

"Every year, people really need to have their chimneys cleaned because of that buildup," he said,

The house that burned was built in 2007 and was part of a newer subdivision, he said.

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Pat Reavy

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