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Large house fire in Highland started with kitchen grease fire


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HIGHLAND -- Smoke filled the sky over northern Utah County Friday afternoon.

A large home near 13100 North and 6800 West in Highland caught fire about 3:00. Firefighters from four local fire departments remain on the scene to ensure the fire is completely out. The home is considered to be a complete loss.

Mark Willison saw the fire just as it started to spread. He said, "I was just driving by and you could just see barely see a little bit of flames and smoke, and in a matter of minutes, it was engulfed in flames."

Firefighters responded from the Lone Peak department of Alpine and Highland, and they quickly called for backup from Lehi, American Fork and Pleasant Grove.

Lone Peak Fire Chief Craig Carlisle said, "Immediately, we could see from our station a big plume of smoke. When we got here the whole kitchen area, one side of the house had already vented through the roof."

The two residents inside told firefighters that a grease fire in their kitchen got out of hand, and they tried to put it with a fire extinguisher, but the flames were still going when the extinguisher ran out of chemicals, so the couple escaped with their two dogs.

The flames were so out of control by the time firefighters arrived, all they could do was set up in a defensive mode to keep the flames from spreading to neighboring houses.

Neighbor Riley Brinkerhoff said, "The house was engulfed in smoke, smoke for two or three minutes, and then you had flame started shooting out the front, about 20-foot flame."

"They actually were worried about their dogs," Carlisle said. "They actually didn't have a hard time getting out, but the gentleman did stay back to try to fight the fire, and as soon as his extinguisher was out, he got out."

The man was taken to the hospital as a precaution because he has a history of heart problems and may have inhaled some smoke while trying to put out the fire.

Investigators from the State Fire Marshals Office are waiting to get inside to verify the kitchen grease fire was responsible.

Damage is said to be between $350,000 and $400,000.

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Story compiled with contributions from Sam Penrod and Randall Jeppesen.

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