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The City Journals

Dump truck mishaps damages homes, leaves thousands without power

Feb 14, 2017 12:31PM ● By Mylinda LeGrande

By Mylinda LeGrande | [email protected]

 On Jan. 11, at 5:40 p.m., a South Jordan homeowner, who preferred not to be identified, was sitting at her computer in her home office when she heard a loud wrenching sound. She looked out her second-story window and saw a dump truck attempting to back up onto her neighborhood street with its back fully raised.

“I could see that the dump truck, raised back, caught the [lines] of the power poles,” the homeowner said, pointing out her office window. “I [grabbed] the phone and dial[ed] 911 because I knew it wasn’t going to end well.”

She was on the emergency phone call while watching the dump truck move back and forth until it caught the power lines overhead.

“He was putting so much gas on the dump truck that there was smoke coming from the tires,” she said. “I saw [the power lines] give and the pole came down. At the same time, I saw a bright white light explosion come from the back of the house. The box that was on the power lines [behind my house] exploded.”

The eyewitness homeowner said a fire immediately started on the chimney of the house located at 10187 South Menteith Street. Within a few seconds, she could see flames on the front of the house, and before long, the roof of the home was also engulfed.

“There is a severely handicapped person living there, and he can’t move on his own,” the homeowner said, referring to one of the residents of the home with the worst damage.

 The homeowner, Linda Mendoza, who lives in the house with her two adult sons, was displaced because of the fire.

 A heroic move was made by of one of Mendoza’s neighbors.

“(The hero) is a little tiny thing, but she full out sprinted to their front door, just to see if anyone was there in the house,” the woman who called 911 said.

That neighbor found one of the adult sons inside the home. When she notified him about the house fire, he was able to get out safely. The disabled son was not there.

West Jordan Fire, South Jordan Fire, Bluffdale Fire and Unified Fire Authority responded to the incident. After they arrived and starting fighting the blaze, the homeowner who called 911 wondered if her own home was in danger.

“I grabbed a flashlight because the power was out,” she said. “I was checking the house for smoke. I went into the backyard and saw the power pole behind my house was broken through at the bottom and had fallen into my backyard. This tree right here kept the power lines off our house and the lines were tangled up in the tree.”

According to the caller, one of the firemen was able move the dump truck, owned by Silver Spur Construction, away from the powerlines. He also made sure that the dump truck driver was OK. He wasn’t injured, but the caller said he appeared to be shaken up.

She said the damage done to her home included a damaged tree, a broken fence and a broken clothes dryer which was damage by the electrical serge. South Jordan officials said seven power poles were damaged in the incident, including three that were knocked over.

“We had shingles on our roof that actually melted,” she said. “Both sides of the fence have damage. The top of the neighbor’s shed was collapsed because the [power] workers were standing on it trying to untangle the power lines. We were lucky that nothing here caught on fire, just the external damage and clothes dryer.”

Two other neighbors had scorch marks on their roofs as well.

A tweet from South Jordan City said the incident happened around 3800 West 10200 South. The residents of the homes involved were evacuated and unhurt. A handful of residents around the area were also evacuated as a safety precaution. The Rocky Mountain Power website also said that approximately 3,105 customers lost power at the time of the incident at 5:20 p.m. (ZIP code 84009). By 8:15 p.m., power was restored to all but approximately 140 customers.

 One resident, Lisa Ashton, who lives in the area affected by the power outage, had a son who was celebrating his birthday in the dark. When he blew out his candles, the power spontaneously came back on after being off for three hours. 

 “Coincidence?” she said. “I think not.”

Editor’s Note: The City Journals chose to keep the first homeowner anonymous for safety reasons.