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PARK CITY — Alert neighbors cleared the path of fire hydrants for arriving crews and used sandbags to divert firehose water away from their properties as a nearby home in the Timberline area of Park City went up in flames Wednesday, officials said.
An explosion at the home, near 7800 Cedar Way, was reportedly heard from a quarter-mile away around 8 a.m., said Park City Fire Chief Steve Zwirn. The explosion and fire appear to have originated in the garage.
Household accelerants in the garage combined with the home being made of cedar log caused the fire to spread rapidly to the point that flames were shooting out of every door and window by the time emergency crews arrived, Zwirn said.
The 3,000-square-foot home nestled in a wooded area with an estimated value of at least $1 million is considered a total loss.
A man who was in the garage when the fire started suffered minor burns and singed his face and hair, Zwirn said. The man's wife and son, who were inside the main portion of the house, were able to get out without being injured.
Park City Fire District Assistant Chief Bob Zanetti said the investigation preliminarily showed the fire started after a propane tank in the garage exploded. The cause of the tank apparently exploding was not released Wednesday.
Narrow snowy roads and cold temperatures of only 5 degrees created several challenges for firefighters. Zwirn praised residents who lived downhill from the burning house for coming together and preventing their homes from flooding by using shovels and sandbags to divert the water flow.
Despite the hilly terrain in the area, water pressure wasn't an issue in Wednesday's fire and rarely presents problems, according to Zwirn.
"Pressure's not an issue at all. The water companies in Park City do a fantastic job of maintaining pressure," he said. "They all do a great job of providing the systems and … adjusting the valves."
A buildup of snow on the streets can complicate firefighters' efforts to get their hoses set up, however, and nearly did Wednesday.
"The biggest thing for our residents is to keep their hydrants clear of snow," Zwirn said. "Fortunately, there were a fair amount of residents who, when they saw the fire, ran out and dug out the hydrants."
Contributing: Mike Radice, Nicole Vowell, Ben Lockhart