ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – “It’s always a fear. I never thought it would happen. Got woke up in the middle of the night to a ‘your house is on fire’ what do you do? Well, crawl out of bed, throw some shoes on, and drive home,” says Robert Cottam of St. George.
Cottam and his wife arrived from a camping trip with their dogs to find their home of 35 years destroyed and charred.
“It appears it started in that garage, it was well involved and then spread to the house,” says St. George Fire Chief, Robert Stoker.
And instead of a regular Monday at work, Cottam is documenting what remains, for insurance.
“Got our photo albums, they took pictures off the walls, everything that looked like it might be meaningful, they were fantastic, the firemen were fantastic,” says Cottam.
And cherishing the items spared by the fire.
“The green quilt over there is something my mother hand stitched, (deep breath) and we just lost her two weeks ago,” says Cottam.
Cottam and his wife are now leaning on their family and neighbors to get them through this life changing experience.
“There’s a memory in everything in the house, everything. Every time I need a tool, I think ‘oh I’ve got that in the garage.’ I need a ladder, it’s in the garage, and now everything is gone,” says Cottam.
“The family has lost almost everything they have had over the course of their marriage and lifetime,” says Stoker.
Stoker says the cause of the fire is under investigation. After fighting three fires in the past two weeks, he wants to remind people to keep items that are flammable or that can self combust in a fire proof container.
Stoker says residents should call the Saint George Fire Department if they have any questions on fire safety.