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Wind works against crews in weekend modular fire

Apr 16, 2013 - From staff reports

Fire officials said the Ethete home was "completely lost" in the Sunday blaze.

Fort Washakie fire chief Kevin Ferris said emergency crews didn't have a chance to save the modular home that burned down early Sunday on Givens Road in Ethete.

"When we got there it was completely lost," Ferris said. "There was nothing standing. It was just a frame."

He said the family evacuated the home when they noticed the fire, which was reported at about 6:15 a.m. Sunday. One occupant was taken to Riverton Memorial Hospital, he added, but he wasn't sure why.

"It was a gal, her boyfriend, and the two grandkids," Ferris said. "I know the gal got transported."

The cause of the blaze is yet to be determined, and Ferris said an investigation into the incident is ongoing. He added that modular homes tend to be more susceptible to fire.

"It doesn't take them too long to burn down," Ferris said. "I don't think we could've saved it even if we were like five miles out."

He said it took crews 15 minutes to arrive on scene from Fort Washakie, blaming the delay on construction along 17 Mile Road.

"When you get to 17 Mile you're pretty much reduced to a crawl," Ferris said. "The construction was kind of hindering our arrival time."

The weather was working against them too, he said, estimating that wind gusts reached 30 mph during the fire. When they arrived on scene, Ferris said firefighters were faced with a "raging pile of debris" surrounded by clouds of smoke.

"It was kind of a tricky one," Ferris said. "There was only one entrance in, (and) smoke was just billowing toward the main highway."

He said they surrounded the area and extinguished the blaze, then stayed on scene for about five hours to ensure the fire was out.

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