Fire chief credits couple's response with saving lives of family in Price
A calm night last Wednesday turned wild for a neighborhood in north Price when Deanna Jones and her boyfriend, Brent Dressel, stepped outside the woman's apartment.
Quick thinking by the couple reportedly led to heroic actions that likely saved the lives of the Sorensen family sleeping in a nearby home.
Dressel, a 32-year-old resident of Douglas, Wyo., was visiting his girlfriend in Price last week and plans to move to Helper in the near future.
Jones indicated that she and Dressel stepped outside the apartment near 1000 East and 800 North around 11 p.m. on Feb. 8 and noticed what looked like fog in the air. The couple soon noticed the smell of smoke and saw it bellowing out of the roof of a neighbor's home at 815 North 1100 East.
Dressel said he ran to the home to confirm whether the house was on fire. He hollered back to Jones that it was and to call 911.
While Jones called for fire and emergency vehicles, Dressel ran to the front door.
When no one opened the door quickly, he reportedly broke down the door to alert the Sorensens that the home was on fire.
Once inside, Dressel said the mother of the family, Tiffany Sorensen, woke up and was surprised to find him standing in the home.
The father of the family, Bart Sorensen, was working and was out of the house at the time of the incident.
Dressel told Tiffany that her home was on fire and to get her family out of the house. He helped her to evacuate three young children and an infant from the home.
With everyone out of the home, Dressel spotted the family car, a large sports utility vehicle, parked in the driveway.
He returned to the back door of the home to grab the keys.
With the SUV parked across the street and the family safe inside it, Dressel reportedly grabbed a garden hose from behind the home and attempted to control the fire, which had started in the chimney and was spreading to the attic and roof of the home.
When fire fighters arrived on the scene, they extinguished flames, which were mostly contained to the attic and roof of the home.
Price Fire Chief Paul Bedont indicated that fire retardant insulation in the attic helped insulate the rest of the home from the flames.
Bedont said the quick response by Dressel and Jones likely saved the Sorensen's lives.
The fire chief said the fire started in the chimney. He reported that he found two fireplaces in the home filled with coal.
"Coal burns at about double the heat of common wood products," said Bedont. He reported that the fireplace and stove of the home appeared to be designed for wood products and the excessive heat generated by the coal likely contributed to the fire's ignition.
Bedont explained that chimney fires often spread to the attic.
"Once it hits the attic, it's like a wind tunnel," he said.
However, because of the insulation in the ceiling, Bedont reported that there was little damage to the home, and much of that was doe to smoke.
"Have your chimneys inspected," Bedont reminds local residents. "And burn the correct fuel in the correct appliance."