WEST JORDAN Utah (ABC 4 News) - A young family lost everything in a fire Saturday night and are now understanding the reality they are facing.
The fire broke out Saturday night at a West Jordan apartment complex and completely destroyed everything inside the apartment. In addition, there was extensive smoke damage to nearby apartments and some have been sealed off until inspectors give families clearance to return.
But for Jessica Hopper and Bryon Hopper they and their five children won’t be returning in the near future.
“"I just don't know what we're going to do,” says Hopper.
The fire started in the kitchen. Robert was cooking a birthday dinner for one of his daughters.
Grease spilled, caught fire and was out of control.
”I put it out with a towel,” says Robert.
But he says the towel reignited. He began throwing baking soda to put out the fire and it was stopped. Or so he thought.
“I opened up the door to the oven and then the fire took off again,” he says.
Apparently it had been building up in the back of the stove and when oxygen was funneled through the stove, it reignited.
"It took a second and then the kitchen was totally in flames,” says Hopper.
The children were taken outside while the parents tried salvaging anything they could grab.
"We didn't have anything except our pajamas,” says Hopper. “We came outside both had bare feet.”
Robert who relies on oxygen returned to the apartment as it was on fire. He wanted to remove his oxygen tanks to prevent them from exploding. He did so but once he was in the bedroom he became trapped. He went out the window of the second floor.
“I was hanging from the window,” he says. “It was a lot farther than I expected.”
But thankfully neighbors climbed up to where he was and were able to get him down safely.
Within minutes after the fire broke out, they threw up the white flag. All was lost.
"I wanted the kids to be safe,” says Hopper. “They were crying and I just needed some safety for them."
With only the shirts on their back, the family is struggling to stay afloat.
"It's scary to go to bed, you can't sleep, you can't eat, you can't function," says Hopper.
The family has setup a donations fund at America First Credit Union under the name of "Hopper Charitable Fund."
Meanwhile, if anyone would like to assist the family with clothing, bedding or furniture, contact ABC 4 News at 801-975-4402 or email at: email@example.com