Man Found Dead After West Valley City House Fire


WEST VALLEY CITY (ABC4 Utah News) – While West Valley City Police and Fire officials investigate the death of a man following a Wednesday afternoon house fire his next door neighbor is questioning the Fire Department’s response time.

Just after 1 o’clock neighbors noticed smoke coming out of a brick house located near 4400 South, 3300 West. Next door neighbor Don Darling called 911 as he attempted to get inside.

“911 just kept asking a lot of questions. I already told ’em the house was on fire and there was a person inside,” Darling said. “I gave them the address. I was very clear in telling them right up front what they needed to know and they just didn’t get here that soon.”

Darling estimates it took 20 minutes for firefighters to get there.

“Then the first fire truck arrives and their water system ain’t working,” Darling said. “So it’s the 2nd fire truck that gets here that they connect to. I just think they could have done a lot more if they would have got here sooner.”

A video from the West Valley City Fire Department shows them putting out the fire. Battalion Chief Bob Fitzgerald said it was an “offensive attack” so they could enter.

“As they got in just a little bit they found one male that was deceased,” Chief Fitzgerald said.

Asked where the deceased victim was found, he replied, “He was inside the front door probably about 10 to 15 feet.”

The body was taken to the state Medical Examiners’ office for an autopsy to determine his cause of death. The man has not been identified but neighbors tell ABC4 Utah News that he was the 39 year old son of the homeowner who took care of his elderly father. Nobody else was home at the time of the fire.

Darling is left wondering if the man could have been saved.

“We already had the doors open and still it was a while before they even went in to the house,” Darling said. “I understand they’ve got to be safe in what they do but God if I’m willing to run in there, you know they got all the equipment on they should have been able to get in there and now I’m hearing he was only a few feet away from the door. It’s just a sad thing.”

The problem according to Darling?

“Just took too long,” he said. “Just way too long.”

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