Friends raising money for Hyrum family after devastating house fire

The charred remains of James and Juanita Ilk's home in Hyrum after an early morning fire Wednesday.

HYRUM — Friends and neighbors are trying to raise money for a Hyrum family that lost everything during an early morning house fire Wednesday. James and Juanita Ilk were sleeping, when they started to hear popping noises and realized a part of their home was engulfed in flames.

Fire fighters battling Wednesday morning’s fire in Hyrum (Britta Brown Photography)

Juanita Ilk called 911, reporting the blaze near 131 S. 1300 E. The couple were able to evacuate safely. Their adult son was also able to escape by climbing through a basement window.

Juanita told dispatch operators, the fire started on the back patio near a propane grill and spread into the home.

When fire fighters arrived on the scene, they reported flames coming from the back of the home and spreading quickly because of strong winds. Embers were also being blown toward nearby properties, where neighbors were using hoses to spray water on their yards and homes.

Multiple agencies responded to the fire. It took fire fighters approximately 45 minutes to extinguish the flames, keeping the blaze from spreading to neighboring homes.

Hyrum City Fire Chief Kevin Maughan said the house is reported to be a total loss with estimated damages sitting at approximately $450,000 or more. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Utah State Fire Marshal.

Friends of the Ilk’s report multiple cars were also damaged in the fire. The family dog also died in the blaze. Another dog was able to eventually get out, but suffered some injuries due to the fire.

A gofundme account has been set up to raise money for the family, who have reportedly lived in the community for 20 years.

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  • Rex Ryian June 24, 2021 at 5:59 pm Reply

    If Juanita was sleeping at the time the fire started, how could she then be the one to call 911 and report that the fire “started” on the back porch grill??? Huh

  • GAY JACKSON June 24, 2021 at 6:09 pm Reply

    There is also an account set up at Mountain America Credit Union.

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