SUGAR HOUSE, Utah (ABC4) – Wednesday night, construction crews began demolishing at the apartment building under construction in Sugar House where 4-alarm fire broke out late Tuesday. Some residents also were able to return to their apartments.
“I was on my friend’s balcony. You could feel the heat from the other building several feet away. It was kind of scary lie, if we can feel it right here, imagine the people that live right next to it. We were worried about the residents facing the fire,” said Katie Ray, who lives at the Vue, remembering the night of the fire.
Kiersten Vandervelde, who also lives at the complex, says she was halfway asleep when she heard banging on her door, when she looked up and saw smoke and flames.
“I actually thought my building was on for because how close the flames were,” she said.
Cpt. Shaun Mumedy with the Salt Lake City Fire Department said that although the fire did not spread to the buildings, there is heat-related damage on the outside of some parts of the building, including glass that shattered.
“Even though maybe fire didn’t penetrate and get inside those specific apartments and burn them up, they experienced a significant amount of heat, which can ultimately off gas, toxic fumes in that apartment and even to the point melting plastics within the apartment,” he said.
Some people were able to return to their apartments last night and fire officials say they hope by tonight everyone that is able to safely do so can go back home. Anyone who’s apartment may have been more affected, they say they have reached out to for accommodations.
“It’s very weird because I drove past that building every single day and to see it burned down is crazy, I feel like it is almost a dream,” said Vandervelde.
Ray stayed at a temporary shelter at the Forest Dale Gold Course provided by the Red Cross, and then at a friend’s. Last night, she was able to come back and says she is grateful for all of their help.
“I saw some ash on my balcony so that was a little like, okay, this could have been a lot worse,” she said.
Ray said being home is a relief, but her heart goes out to those that might have to wait for longer.
Mumedy also shared that some people have reported finding debris on their property. He said when disposing of it, protect yourself with an n95 and gloves and treat it like fireworks — make sure to soak it using a garden hose and that it’s fully extinguished before disposing of it, and to place it in a trash outside away from your home in case of rekindling.