How to help: Northern California wildfire relief

Residents displaced after house fire in Sandy

SANDY, Utah -- Around seven o'clock Sunday morning, crews hurried to 55 East Pioneer Street in Sandy.

Ben Perry was on his way home when he saw the smoke. He drove around looking for the house, and when he found it, he said he made sure the residents got out safely.

"I'm yelling, 'Everybody get out! Everybody get out!'" he recalled.

He said while he was on the phone with 911, he saw the two residents, a man and a woman, try to put the fire out with a garden hose.

"At one time I did hear something explode and a loud hissing noise back there, so there was miscellaneous debris in the area," Perry said.

Sandy Fire Department Chief Chris Dawson said it appeared the residents were operating "small motors" in the back of the house, near the shed. Those caught fire, which extended into the house and kitchen area.

Neighbors said those "small motors" were generators the residents were using because power was cut to the home months ago. Three different neighbors told Fox 13 they each have called police and the fire department to the home many times before. Chief Dawson corroborated this information.

Neighbors said they see strange cars pull up to the house and quickly drive off. They called it a "constant flow of traffic."

They also recalled numerous fires at the house over the years. Some have been small in the back yard area. Others were big; the neighbors said last summer, the residents were seen throwing a lot of furniture out into a dumpster in the driveway. Apparently they then set that dumpster on fire.

Crews were boarding up part of the house Sunday, but neighbors said they would be better off if the whole thing were condemned.

One of the residents, William Ford, has been in and out of jail for years on various charges, including - but not limited to - theft, forgery, drug possession and charges related to domestic violence calls.