Bystanders delay emergency response to house fire in Price

Jul 25, 2023, 3:00 PM

a fire destroys a home in price...

A fire destroys a home, and four to five cars on July 20, 2023 in Price, Utah. (Price City Fire Department)

(Price City Fire Department)

PRICE, Utah — Firefighters in Price suffered delayed response times Saturday after bystanders blocked access to an active house fire.

A Facebook post from Helper City Fire Department detailed the frustrations of the crews.


The house fire started when a vehicle in the carport caught on fire, spreading to the home.

Price, Helper, Wellington and East Carbon Fire Departments rushed to the scene. Helper arrived five minutes later than the rest.

Helper Fire Chief Matt Montoya said there were approximately 50 cars jamming the street when he arrived. Bystanders had driven to the home to take photos. Montoya said he had to get out of the truck and direct traffic just to access the home.

“We understand that people are curious when they see smoke and hear sirens, but we still got a job to do,” Montoya said. “The bottom line is if we’ve got somebody that’s in the house that we can’t get to and it takes that extra five minutes, that could be life or death in these situations.”

The home was a total loss and the owner also lost four, possibly five, vehicles.

“Somebody is losing their property, they’re losing everything they’ve worked hard for and it’s sad to think that people will actually think more to pull their cell phone out and record a scene or take pictures, rather than ‘what do we need to do to help these folks?” Montoya said. “Let’s stay out of the way and avoid taking pictures. This is people’s livelihood that we’re dealing with.”

Montoya said that although the department is grateful for community support, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Related: Salt Lake still facing triple-digit temps, heat wave not slowing down

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Bystanders delay emergency response to house fire in Price