State fire investigators say a burning cigarette started a fire inside a Garden City apartment that claimed the life of a 66-year-old man who was inside the home at about 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Firefighters from Garden City and Laketown were dispatched to the Bear Hollow Apartments at 380 W. 300 North, approximately two-thirds of a mile northwest of LaBeau’s, with information that there may have been a person inside the structure.
The man, Harry Samuel Hazard, was home alone Wednesday morning while his wife was at work.
Emergency crews were alerted to the fire by a home health care nurse who had arrived for a therapy appointment.
“The nurse stated that when she opened the door to the apartment she was forced back by heavy smoke and intense heat,” the Rich County Sheriff’s Office reported Wednesday evening.
A sheriff’s deputy arrived on scene moments later, and when he entered the home he found Hazard deceased.
The Utah State Fire Marshal’s Office conducted an investigation in the home on Wednesday, and they say the fire originated in a reclining couch from a cigarette.
A home medical oxygen device located next to the couch appears to have contributed to the fire’s rapid spread, investigators said.
With those two factors combined, the fire burned intensely in the living room, causing significant damage.
The Garden City Fire Department, located less than a mile away, responded to the home and quickly contained the fire, preventing it from spreading throughout the home.
A dog inside the home also required medical treatment, Garden City Fire Chief Mike Wahlberg said. Local firefighters and a deputy rendered aid and oxygen to the dog before a firefighter transported him to a veterinarian in Montpelier. The dog is expected to survive.