Roof fire at theater caught early by alert officer’s quick response

The St. George fire Department responds to a roof fire reported at Megaplex Theater on Main Street Friday morning, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A roof fire sent plumes of thick, black smoke into the air Friday, catching the attention of a police officer who acted quickly to reduce the risk of injury and damage to a local movie theater.

The incident began when a St. George Police officer – identified only by his last name, Lusk – was patrolling in the area and noticed smoke coming from the roof of Megaplex Theaters, at 905 S. Main Street, and headed to the fire.

The St. George Fire Department responds to a roof fire reported at Megaplex Theater on Main Street, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The officer discovered that the crew installing the roof did not have a fire extinguisher to fight the flames burning across the roof.

Lusk pulled an extinguisher from his patrol vehicle and hoisted it up to the crew on the roof using a rope. They extinguished the flames while firefighters were still en route, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.

“The guys up there had no fire extinguisher, which they should have had, and they are going to get one now,” Stoker said.

Firefighters investigated the roof for any burning embers or hot spots, which could potentially reignite at a later time.

The roof and building were then inspected for smoke and fire damage, which was minimal, Stoker said.

The fire started when vapors from the glue used to adhere weatherproofing material to the roof ignited from a spark caused by static electricity, he said.

The roof workers even told firefighters on scene that they were shocked several times while walking across the roof just before the fire started.

The St. George Fire Department responds to a roof fire reported at Megaplex Theater on Main Street, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“The guys put the glue down and when they slid that membrane over the glue or even walking on the roof created a spark, and the vapors from the glue caught fire, which spread to the material,” Stoker said.

The fire continued to burn for several minutes and the glue’s chemical makeup created a thick, heavy, black smoke, which could be seen from a greater distance and is what likely alerted the officer to the fire.

Fire hazards increase during the summer months and, particularly in triple-digit temperatures, the risk of a fire igniting from sparks is greater, which makes safety even more important, the chief said.

“Always have a fire extinguisher handy, no matter what kind of work your’re doing, just in case,” Stoker said. “Be sure you have a good escape route, like these roofers who had a ladder secured, which allowed them to get off of the roof quickly if they needed to.”

All St. George police officers have fire extinguishers in their patrol vehicles, department spokeswoman Lona Trombley said.

No injuries were reported.

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

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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2 Comments

  • mmsandie June 9, 2018 at 8:24 am

    I wonder if the roofing company didn,t have a extinguisher, did they have a business license and insurance…..?..

    • comments June 10, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      right. and did they speak english i wonder? cant imagine doing roofing in 100+. inhale enough fumes from that roofing glue and you’ll end up like our dear little Dumpy. 😉

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