MOAB, Utah — Numerous families lost their homes and all of their belongings after a fire ripped through the Pack Creek Mobile Home Park in Grand County on Sunday afternoon.
“Ten [homes] total involved: We lost the six that were totally involved, and there are four that are uninhabitable right now,” Moab Valley Fire Department Chief TJ Brewer said. “[Mobile homes] go quick compared to a stick-built home, just the way they’re built. This one, we encountered a lot of cotton, a lot of cheatgrass.”
Chief Brewer said the nearby vegetation around homes and the cottonwood trees overhead caused the fire to spread. The fire was named the "Murphy Fire" due to its proximity to Murphy Lane.
“The fuels around there, it just moved quick. It brought it under the houses, the cottonwoods above it started burning on top of the houses," Brewer said. "It was just the perfect storm."
This perfect storm reminded Chief Brewer of the Cinema Court Fire in 2018, which burned less than 10 acres but destroyed eight homes.
No fatalities were reported from Sunday’s incident, but some residents lost their pets in the fire.
Here's a look at the aftermath from a fire that sparked Sunday afternoon in the Pack Creek Mobile Home Park in @CityofMoab. SIX trailers were destroyed, four others were damaged. Numerous families lost everything. pic.twitter.com/SedMGfiy96
“It feels like it’s a really bad nightmare,” said Erin Wilson, who had lived in her mobile home in the park since the early 2000s. “That fire hit and it took everything out of our trailer. We lost two bearded dragons, some cats. I mean, we barely got out of there with the clothes on our back.”
Erin’s husband Jerry had been fixing up an adjacent trailer, which belonged to his late mother. That trailer was also destroyed.
“It just happened so fast. It was unreal. I mean, we did everything we could do to try to save our places,” Jerry said. “We just don’t know what’s next... Where do we go from here?”
The Wilsons lost everything. Their neighbors Brittney and Wade did too.
“They decided to step outside and there were people screaming for them to get out of their trailer, and they literally had no shoes on — nothing,” said Marcy Mason, whose sister Brittany, her husband and their three children lost their home and everything they owned in the fire.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the Wilson family, while a local church has set up a fund to help with all of the families.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, the Utah State Fire Marshal and the Moab Valley Fire Department. Anyone with information about the origin of the fire is asked to call the Grand County Sheriff’s Office at 435-259-8115.
In the meantime, Chief Brewer is encouraging all residents to be aware of the vegetation around their homes and work to create defensible space.
To donate by mail: Moab Seventh-day Adventist Church 4581 Spanish Valley Drive Moab, UT 84532
Checks payable to the Moab Seventh-day Adventist Church; write "Mobile Home Park Fire Victims" in memo line
To donate in-person: Zions Bank Moab Branch (tell them the donation is for the Mobile Home Park fire victims fund setup by Moab Seventh-day Adventist Church)