Fire destroys home, family displaced
By Robert Stevens
Mt. PLEASANT—A two-story log cabin style home was burned to the ground Sunday evening when a grilling mishap turned into disaster.
The destroyed home was located at 660 East 700 South in Mt. Pleasant, in close proximity to the North Sanpete High School. The home belonged to Sanpete Valley Hospital Nurse Manager Suzy Zahler and her family.
The Zahlers all escaped without injury, said Mt. Pleasant Fire Chief Sam Draper. One family pet is still unaccounted for, however.
A neighbor who came to the scene and tried to help extinguish the fire with a garden hose was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. A firefighter from Fairview was also taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure, Draper said.
The main structure was a total loss and some peripheral equipment, such as ATVs and utility trailers, were also damaged in the blaze, Draper said. Some of the siding on the house to the south was also melted.
The fire started in a smoker grill that was sitting on a wooden deck. The husband of the home was smoking a batch of fish and he had left the grill to do some yardwork, Draper said.
His wife came out to check on the grill and found it engulfed in smoke and flames were spreading to the deck, Draper said. She immediately tried to put the fire out. But a stiff breeze from the southwest caused the deck to catch fire and the flames were channeled directly into the house.
There was an alleyway from the deck to the house; and the flames were pulled right inside, Draper said.
The wife ran downstairs and vacated everyone from the house. “It was a scary situation and close call,” Draper said. When the Mt. Pleasant Fire Department arrived on the scene only six minutes later, the entire structure was totally involved in flames, Draper said.
“By the time we got there, the house was fully engulfed,” Draper said. “We took defensive measures to contain it.”
Several other volunteer fire departments from Fairview, Spring City, Sterling and Gunnison arrived on the scene and helped to keep the fire from spreading into nearby homes and into a sagebrush field, Draper said.
The family has been totally displaced from their home. But the LDS Relief Society has stepped in to help them with clothing and the family is staying with other nearby family members for the time being, Draper said.
The social media response from the community in the wake of the Zahlers’ tragedy has been substantial.
More than 100 comments were made in support of the Zahlers on Suzy’s public Facebook post about the fire, and some private fundraising efforts are under way to help the family with their losses