WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – As many as 10 families in West Valley City are without a home Saturday. After a fire destroyed their apartment buildings, some literally have nothing to go back to.
According to Bob Fitzgerald of the West Valley City Fire Department, the fire started Saturday afternoon near 4535 S. 3820 W. in West Valley City and was caused by an outdoor barbecue. The smoke rose so high some mistook it for a wildfire.
"I thought oh my goodness the fire is down here too," said Barbara Forrest, West Valley City resident.
"Yah, it looks scary," said Avii Tui, West Valley City resident.
"The flames were so high you could see it from the other side of the Bangerter Highway wall," said Scott Bolton, West Valley City resident.
When fire fighters arrived it was already too late.
"We had one four-plex fully involved," said Chief John Evans, West Valley City Fire Department.
As of Saturday evening crews don't know how the small apartment building caught fire. But they said winds blew flames into the building next door. And it wasn't long before it went up too. Firefighters struggled to keep up.
"It's the third fire today, we've been busy. It's just the time of year, conditions are right, the winds not in our favor right now," said Evans. “We’re exhausted but we’re here.”
As smoke began too clear you could see the charred carcass of what were several families’ homes.
"It's the second time my grandma has to go through a house burning, it's sad. We don't have nothing now," said a woman named Vanessa.
"We lose everything, we lost everything. Like she said, it's our second time we do it. It's not fun," said Martin Rayos.
ABC 4 is told the Red Cross and the Salt Lake City Mission are offering to help the people who've been displaced by the fire.