Woman in Critical Condition, A Dozen Puppies Killed in Early Morning House Fire

Orem Fire: 4 people rescued, One woman in critical condition at hospital

OREM, Utah (ABC4 Utah)- One woman was taken to the hospital and at least a dozen Yorkie puppies are dead after an early morning house fire in Orem.

The call came in around 2:30 a.m. Friday at 905 West 450 North in Orem.  Multiple agencies responded to the scene and about 25 firefighters from the Pleasant Grove, and Provo Fire Department's fought the fire for about an hour-and-a-half.

"They immediately initiated an offensive interior attack and there were known occupants inside the home and they initiated an aggressive search," said Orem Fire Department Battalion Chief Ryan Peterson. 

All four family members were able to get out of the home.  Dale Steele describes what he saw. 

I don't know what happened, I just smelled smoke looked out the back door and the whole back porch was on fire," he said.  

Crews arrived to find heavy smoke and flames coming from the back of the home, though the cause of the fire is still under investigation.  Steele, his wife, daughter and grandson were all rescued from the home.  Steele's daughter was transported to the hospital and is in critical condition, according to officials.  The extent of her injuries was not known.  Two other family members were treated and released at the scene.

"The fire did spread quickly throughout the structure it got into the attic space as well as the basement," said Chief Peterson.


Steele says he and his family have lived in the home for 30 years and the family has been breeding Yorkies since.  He said he had two mother Yorkies each with several puppies no more than 6 weeks-old and weighing no more than 3 pounds.

"Before this happened I had 6 dogs on my lap on the couch watching TV and it hit so fast that I screamed downstairs to the two kids downstairs and Jean, my wife," said Steele.  "I tried to grab some dogs and push them outside and I was out of it.  I collapsed," said Steele.

Sadly, 13 puppies died in the fire.  Only two survived.   

"They were just like our kids," said Steele.

Fire crews have deemed the house a complete loss and estimate the cost of the damage at $125,000.  

"It's not often that we have  occupants suffer injuries so it's unique in that way.  It's an unfortunate event as well as the pets that perished," said Peterson.

The Red Cross was on scene helping the family with any needs, Steele said his family may have to spend the night in a hotel. 

"It's a horrible thing, it scares you to death," he said.  "I don't know what we'll do."


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