UPDATED July 7, 2021
Fire broke out at 3129 West 7200 North, the Von and LaDee Gregersen place in Banida today, which destroyed at least two mobile homes and a motor home.
A call went out to the fire department just after 12:30 p.m. Crews from Franklin County were joined by firemen from Cache County (Lewiston, Richmond and Smithfield), who brought additional tenders to supply additional water to the blaze.
Gleed explained that what appeared to be "giant blow torches" that appeared within the inferno were the result of a pressure relief valve on a 120-gallon propane tank, functioning as intended to prevent the tank from exploding. As the pressure was relieved, the escaping propane immediately ignited. Smaller five to 10-pound propane tanks located elsewhere in the blaze also exploded.
No people were injured in the inferno, but a dog was taken to the veterinarian with injuries, including melted toenails and burned pads, and may have been rendered deaf when propane tanks exploded. A fireman noticed it moving underneath one of the burning mobile homes and directed water on it. The water broke through the dog's fear and it ran to one of Gregersen's sons, who took it to the vet. Other dogs were rescued before they sustained injuries. Neighbors took some of them, puppies, to care for them until they could be returned home.
Other neighbors, such as Don Liebes, came to help as soon as they were aware of the fire. Liebes kept water on a shed which preserved its contents. Bill Geddes filled a tanker with water and brought it to the the scene. A woman showed up offering food or a place to stay. The offer was graciously declined, since the Gregerson's home was not affected by the blaze.
"We have wonderful neighbors," said LaDee. "That's what neighbors do," said Liebes.
According to Franklin County Fire Marshall Matt Gleed, the cause of the blaze was determined by State Fire Marshall Deputy Brian Owens to be a short in an electrical extension cord. Fire crews were onsite for about six hours making sure there were no hotspots left to reignite.
Lost in the blaze were a motor home, three camp trailers, and two mobile homes. There were also nine vehicles destroyed by the fire, said Gregersen. They were collector cars that belong to his son, Jed.
"Jed is who I feel bad about - people just don't realize how much those old cars are worth," Gregersen said. Between the cars, trailers, miscellaneous supplies, the buildings and the building materials Gregersen had stored, he estimates losses to amount to as much as $100,000. He is hopeful his insurance company will be helpful with the loss.
Gregersen expressed gratitude to the neighbors and the fire department for their help. "I gained a whole new appreciation for fire department. Always did admire them, but when it is personal ..." he mused. "I feel very fortunate that it didn't go any further than it did. Hats off to the fire department. It was pretty impressive."
Nonetheless, he and his family are fine. The dog is expected to heal and the family is feeling much gratitude for the help and concern sent their way. "It was just things and stuff - every one was ok," Gregersen said.