WEST VALLEY CITY (ABC4 News) – An early morning fire ripped through a building at the Apartments on Decker Lake around 2 a.m. Monday.
Quick actions by one West Valley officer saved a dozen families lives — including one man who had to jump out of the building.
“The guy that was trapped up in there had a few scrapes from jumping down, a few scrapes on his arms but that was all,“ West Valley City Battalion Chief Jed Peters said. “They pulled their police are up against the building and were able to get the occupants down onto the police car and out.“
Neighbors like Fried Shaffer remember the officers rushing to get them up and out of buildings.
Shaffer says there was only one thing to do.
“We all went out into the parking lot and watched it burn down,“ he said.
Fire crews say the fire burned for a good 10 minutes before they were called in to assist.
“It wasn’t called in to like 911, it was a police officer that noticed it,“ the Battalion Chief said.
Many residents were glad the officer banged on peoples doors as hard as he did.
“For some reason, it sounded like gunfire. Three round burst; you know; boom, boom, boom. It was the cops pounding on the doors, and so I got up and looked out, and yeah the flames were coming out and it was well on fire at that time,“ said Shaffer.
In all 40 firefighters were called out from West Valley City, Unified Fire Authority, South Salt Lake, and West Jordan to fight the fire.
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“The power lines caused an issue for our ladder trucks and placement,“ said BC Peters. “With the transition lines behind me, high voltage, we were pretty limited on what we could do with those ladder trucks. We were able to use them but not to their full advantage.“
The American Red Cross says they are helping the 12 families affected by the fire.
“Those eight apartments were all affected by the fire, because of the amount of water we were throwing on it an apartment next to it also flooded,“ said BC Peters.
Fire investigators say the fire caused over a million dollars in damages and will be under investigation.
When asked about the officer who rushed into action BC Peters said, “if he wouldn’t have noticed it; it could have turned out much, much worse than what we ended up with.“