Tough terrain causes some difficulties for Monday’s 5-alarm fire

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – According to Salt Lake City firefighters the apartment complex made it difficult to fight Monday morning’s 5-alarm fire.

Salt Lake City Fire Department crew first worried about the safety of residents, but wanted to make sure the fire did not spread to the other buildings on 425 East and 1000 South.

“As far as the types of calls and frequencies of calls this is one of the lesser practiced things,” SLFD Capt. Tony Stowe says.

The almost 50-year-old apartment complex fire sparked in the middle of the night, with powerlines and trees in the way.

The apartment complex sits on a steep slope, with the front door on the third level.

“But if it is on a hillside, to answer your question, that is what we are looking for where the base of the building is and the taller the building means the more amplification of the effect it is going to have,” says Principal Structural Engineer Oliver Burt.

Burt works for Reaveley Engineering based in Salt Lake City.

Firefighters tell ABC 4 this was a tough fire to fight because its location between two fault lines and the complex being six stories. Fire crews believe the fire started near the top of the building.

“Honestly I don’t think most people think about it until there’s an earthquake,” says Burt. “I don’t think that people think about it too much.”

Burt says it’s a team effort to build something like an apartment complex on a hill.

He states just because it is built on a hill doesn’t make it any less safe, however it is more likely to collapse due to Mother Nature.

Capt. Stowe explains the rule of thumb is practice frequently for the infrequent calls, be ready to fight the unexpected.

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