RICHFIELD, Utah (ABC4) — A massive fire in Richfield Monday night left dozens of families without homes just days before Thanksgiving. Officials say it happened at Ville 647 — which was a former Motel 6 in the 600 block of Main St. recently repurposed for low-income housing.
Authorities said calls on the fire came in around 7:30 last night. They said everyone has been accounted for. A few were taken to the Sevier Valley Hospital with minor injuries and smoke inhalation.
As for the building, Richfield Mayor Bryan Burrows said it looks like it’s a total loss. Tuesday morning, following the aftermath of the fire, the building looked charred, windows broken and the roof had collapsed in.
“The enormity of it all is just sinking in,” said resident Cabel Faatz, at the Sevier County Fairgrounds, which was set up as a temporary shelter for residents displaced by the fire.
Faatz has called the Ville 647 home since May. Last night, when he was returning from picking his wife up from work, they came across a surprising sight.
“We got out of the car and everything to see — and that’s when we saw the flames,” he said.
Around 70 people are now without a place to stay because of this fire. Quickly, the community came together to help, raising hundreds of donations overnight.
“We live in a small area, and when things like this happen, our community comes together,” said Burrows.
Ville 647 was previously a Motel 6, which officials said was turned into extended-stay housing, and just a little over a month ago, the City Council approved a zoning change to allow it to be used for high-density housing.
Mayor Burrows said he was concerned about a fire like this happening, with worries over things like hot plates being used for cooking. Just as Ville 647 was set to get upgrades to wiring and other changes it needed to meet code — this fire broke out.
“It’s unfortunate. People need to have this kind of housing. You know it’s a reality, there’s really nothing affordable down here for people right now,” he said.
Faatz said he has family to stay with, and his heart goes out to those that may not have as much of a support system. Although this has been difficult, he’s just glad he, his wife and other residents were safe.
“We lost a couple of family pictures, she lost some jewelry, some other valuables, some needed medication, but all that can be replaced. Life can’t be,” he said.
Mayor Burrows said as far as next steps go, the focus is on helping all the people that have been displaced. The Red Cross has been helping those affected by the fire. As of now, officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.