Huge fire at Ivins storage unit was ‘nothing nefarious’

Smoke billows from Red Mountain Warehouse and Storage as blaze burns through 22 storage units, Ivins, Utah, Feb. 16, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

IVINS — The investigation and findings into the early morning fire at an Ivins storage facility two weeks ago that burned through multiple units have been released.

Heavy, acrid smoke blankets the area where a fire blazed at Red Mountain Warehouse and Storage, Ivins, Utah, Feb. 16, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Fire investigators determined that the cause of the fire was electrical in nature, and started in one of the storage units where a large, industrial-use pressure washer was being stored, Todd Hohbein, inspector and fire investigator with the state of Utah, said.

“One of the individuals renting there owned a power washing company, and stored one of the large pressure washers, one that would be towed behind a truck, inside of the unit,” he said.

During the early morning hours on the day prior to the fire, the man returned the pressure washer to the storage unit, locked up and left.

Smoke billows from Red Mountain Warehouse and Storage as blaze burns through 22 storage units, Ivins, Utah, Feb. 16, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Sometime later that day the wiring in the pressure washer started to burn, then caught fire, Hohbein said, adding that it was a slow developing fire that continued well into the night, and became much larger in the early morning hours of Feb. 13.

“There’s so much damage it’s hard to tell exactly what went wrong with the wiring or the mechanical motor, but it wasn’t noticed until well after he left it at the storage unit.”

The fire was detected shortly before 6 a.m. Feb. 13, after a patrol officer saw flames and smoke coming from the facility.

Multiple firefighting crews and engines were dispatched to the scene where they encountered one side of the facility engulfed in flames. Several hours later it was contained, then extinguished.

Read more: Officer sounds alert upon discovery of early morning blaze at Ivins storage facility

Twenty-two storage units sustained extensive fire, water and smoke damage, and appeared to be a loss, Hohbein said, but they found nothing suspicious or criminal during the investigation.

“It appeared purely accidental, nothing nefarious,” Hohbein said.

This report is based on statements from police or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.  

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

2 Comments

  • Caveat_Emptor March 1, 2018 at 8:07 am

    This sounds like a design, or maintenance, defect in the pressure washer itself. We are hoping the owner of the defective unit shares the fire department’s report with the manufacturer. A recall should be considered.
    We are assuming that there was a 12 Volt battery on-board to start the pressure washer’s internal combustion engine, that drives the pump. A dead short of the battery is possible, and dangerous.

  • comments March 2, 2018 at 9:40 am

    “Fire investigators determined that the cause of the fire was electrical in nature”

    They don’t have a clue. The machine likely may have been the cause, but it’d have plenty of hot parts that have nothing to do w/ electrical. Plus full of fuel of some kind.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.