MOAB — Rick Carrigan wanted to spend his Saturday cleaning up a mess on his Moab property. It’s just he can’t; he’s not allowed to.
"This pile of garbage right here is not moving because of the pace of government bureaucracy," he said while pointing to what’s left of his home.
Carrigan is one of several homeowners whose homes were burned during a fast-moving wildfire earlier in the week.
He had volunteers ready to help remove debris, and a friend brought a small backhoe to help him, but they had to stop Friday afternoon.
The Southeast Utah Health Department closed the area due to possible health concerns until a certified asbestos inspector can sign off on allowed people back in.
"We haven’t allowed asbestos in home construction since, what, the 1970s? This house was built in 1997," said Carrigan. "In fact, if you pull the file — if they would have come down, I pulled the file out of my file cabinet of when my house was built. It’s a lack of common sense. If they really wanted to do something, they can do it."
Carrigan is hoping an inspector looks through what’s left of his home soon.
There are meetings planned for Monday, with city and county officials, to determine a timeline for when families can start removing debris and start rebuilding.
"In this neighborhood, people will come and help us like there is nothing else. I really love the people around here and that’s why we still stay here," said Bill Partridge, who has lived at the end of LaSal Avenue for 27 years. "Everybody here is like a family and that’s why we want to stay here. The people are amazing."
Several businesses in the area have offered free food, lodging and cleaning services for families who were affected by the fire.
Ten homes were burned to the ground. Many homeowners had insurance, but two didn’t.
Even children have been raising money to help families.
"There was a golf tournament some girls won, and they offered us the prize money," said Laura Allred, who is Bill Partridge’s daughter. "Some other children put up a lemonade stand and raised a hundred dollars to donate to all the families."
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest of the person who started the fire.