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OGDEN — Firefighters were still investigating Wednesday what caused a dramatic house fire in Ogden where a man had to be rescued from the roof of the burning structure Tuesday.
That man had a warrant issued for his arrest that same day for probation violation, and had told agents from Adult Probation and Parole on Monday that he didn't want to go to jail, according to court records.
The fire at 2831 S. Monroe started about 6 p.m. Tuesday with a large explosion, according to witnesses, producing flames that were 30 feet high. One man climbed from his second story window onto the roof of the house and was later helped down by firefighters.
Two Adult Probation and Parole officers had just walked away from the front porch and were about to get into their car to drive away when the house exploded behind them, said Adult Probation and Parole director Jim Hudsepth.
The officers had been called by the sister of a 42-year-old man on probation who was renting a room in the basement to do a welfare check on him for an undisclosed reason, said Hudsepth. But when the officers knocked on the door, no one answered, he said.
Moments later, the house exploded and burst into flames.
One of the officers kicked in the front door of the house just as firefighters arrived to see if anyone was inside. The man whom AP&P was originally checking on climbed from the house onto the roof before the officers helped firefighters get him down.
Both officers were taken to a local hospital as a precaution to be evaluated. They were released a short time later, he said.
"It was a terrible situation. We're glad we were right there to assist," Hudsepth said.
Officials had not stated as of Wednesday afternoon whether they believed the fire was set intentionally.
According to court records, an arrest warrant was issued for the man that day.
The man was convicted a year ago of felony DUI. His sentence of up to five years at the Utah State Prison was suspended and he was placed on probation. He had violated that probation several times by drinking, however, and was suspected of drinking again on Monday, according to court records.
AP&P agents looking for the man on Monday called him on his cellphone and his speech was slurred and slow, court records state. After talking to him on the phone several times, the man admitted to AP&P agents that he had been drinking but he didn't want to tell them where he was because he was afraid they would take him to jail, according to court records.
AP&P officers went to the house on Monroe on Monday but did not find him there. They received information that he may be planning to leave Utah to live with his mother in Las Vegas, the warrant states.