OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – Community members and fire officials are on edge as apartment fires continue to break out across the state. Most recently, a fire at an apartment construction site in Ogden quickly spread to nearby homes and businesses Monday night.
State Fire Marshal Coy Porter told ABC4 he’s never seen so many structure fires break out at once in his 40 years of working in Utah.
While there are a lot of similarities between the apartment fires, Porter said he doesn’t believe they’re related, at least for right now. He said there is still a lot of evidence to work through in this investigation and it takes time to find the cause.
“We’ve seen this over the years where there are multiple fires that appear might be related. Some of them end up being that way, but a lot of them are not necessarily related,” Porter said.
There’s a lot that goes into these types of investigations including which agencies are involved.
“Suspicion on fires this size and especially buildings under construction…that perks a lot of things across the country,” Porter said.
“It’s a collaborative effort. They’ll look at all the different factors and try to see if there is anything related between the multiple fires or if they’re independent and just happen to be the circumstances today,” Porter said.
Porter said investigators start with security. This includes finding out who is there, who is leaving the scene, documenting the names in the case including the construction workers. After they’re interviewed, he said investigators start from the outside and work their way towards the burn.
Porter told ABC4 News that they’re looking for patterns, smoke, or anything that could cause a fire to break out.
“If it’s under construction, there’s lots of things. There’s cutting torches, things that cause sparks when your cutting, grinders, and those kinds of things,” Porter said.
While there’s several similarities between the fires, Porter said the investigations that are already taking place won’t change. The reason for this is because they follow a scientific method outlined by the National Fire Protection Association.