Neighbors speak after fire on Utah’s Capitol Hill

Jul 25, 2018, 4:18 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Residents of a neighborhood where a brush fire brushed a little too close to homes are talking about what it was like when winds whipped up the flames on Pioneer Day just north of the state capitol building.


It took a village, or at least, a neighborhood and some dedicated fire crews.

“Quite a herculean effort yesterday,” Karl Lieb, Salt Lake City Fire Chief, said. “I feel very good about the job that our firefighters did.”


In some cases, even the neighbors were part of that herculean effort.


Dustin Holt helped save his own home with a garden hose

Dustin Holt shows how close the flames came to his property during the Pioneer Day fire.

Dustin Holt and Justin Peterson used garden hoses to help save their homes, and their neighbor’s. At one point, they were behind the retaining wall, aiming water at whatever they could.


Peterson says some of his neighbors were holding a Pioneer Day pool party when they spotted the plume of smoke, jumping out of the water and throwing on shoes and racing to get garden hoses. Others carried their children out through the hills because the fire was blocking the only road out with flames Peterson describes as 20 to 30 feet tall.

“It got so close over here, it literally burned the hair off my arms,” Peterson says.

Today, blackened brush shows just how close the flames came to destroying homes and property. In some cases, it’s a matter of feet away from yards and playsets. Some homes did sustain damage.

Holt and Peterson says all of the neighbors played a part in helping save the neighborhood, right alongside fire crews.

That praise and sentiment were echoed by Mayor Jackie Biskupski, who toured the area Wednesday morning.

“This is what it means to come together as a community. It was an all hands on deck, and led by an extraordinary team of firefighters,” Biskupski says.

“One guy gave me his flipflops because I was barefoot,” Peterson says.

The men say they didn’t sleep overnight, because even after the flames were out, they had to chase people away who drove up into the Capitol Hill neighborhood to set off fireworks.

Wednesday morning, fire officials said they were able to rule out either fireworks or lightning as possible causes of the fire. That means humans likely caused it, though the investigation is ongoing.

A total of five people were hurt in the fire; two residents suffered smoke inhalation, and three firefighters were also hurt. The Salt Lake City Fire Department says all of the firefighters have been released from the hospital.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


Gov. Spencer Cox covered a broad range of issues Thursday night at the State of the State Address. ...
Chandler Holt

Governor Spencer Cox signs transgender bill, releases statement

Gov. Spencer Cox released a statement on the transgender bill, that would ban transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for minors, on Saturday.
18 hours ago
A traffic stop in Salt Lake City led to the arrest of a 21-year-old man who was in possession of il...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake City traffic stop leads to drug bust, illegal gun recovered

Salt Lake City police say a traffic stop Thursday resulted in a 21-year-old man being arrested for being in possession of illegal drugs and a firearm.
2 days ago
January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the ...
Waverly Golden

Utah’s Hogle Zoo “Cats and Cocoa” event

January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the endangered cats of the zoo.
2 days ago
Here are some of the many easy houseplants that beginning gardeners will be able to care for and he...
Michelle Lee

Easy houseplants for beginning gardeners or pros

There are many easy houseplants that are perfect for people who are just beginning to practice their green thumb.
2 days ago
A 15-year-old girl was killed in a crosswalk on Friday when she was hit by a school bus in Sandy. T...
Simone Seikaly

Jordan High student killed in Sandy crosswalk by school bus

Sandy police said they do not yet know how or why the student was hit while walking in a crosswalk on Friday.
2 days ago
A bill on transgender healthcare — banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV and Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

SB16 bans gender-confirming surgeries for minors and also places a moratorium on puberty blockers for minors.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Neighbors speak after fire on Utah’s Capitol Hill