Crews battle flames, deep snow, in Alta 2-alarm apartment fire

Crews are on the scene of a fire at an Alta apartment building on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. Images: Unified Fire Authority; Google Earth

ALTA, Utah, Feb. 16, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Firefighters were called to an explosion and fire Saturday at an Alta apartment building.

Unified Fire Authority crews were first dispatched to the residences near 9700 East Bypass Road at 4:02 p.m.

Keith Garner, UFA spokesman said at 6 p.m.  the fire was still burning due to a continued natural gas supply. Utility crews were on scene, attempting to turn off the gas, but the complex’s major gas line was in the attic.

“It’s still active within the attic,” he said of the fire.

Arriving crews “are having a tough time dealing with really deep snow,” he added. “We’re about an hour and a half into the fire, and Dominion is just now getting it (the gas supply) turned off.”

The building contains four apartments. A father and son who smelled the gas in the attic were able to get out before the explosion, Garner said. No injuries have been reported.

Crews had to “stop putting water on it” as crews entered the building to deal with the gas line, Garner said, because fire hoses put out about 100 gallons per minute, which could cause injuries to anyone hit.

The Unified Fire authorities later posted the following on social media:

“Attic fires pose many hazards for the fire service. When a fire occurs in an attic, it often will go unnoticed until smoke or flames are visible from the outside of the structure. A fire in the attic may involve insulation and wood structural members as well as a variety of stored belongings.

“Currently crews are working in sub freezing temps and a large snow load, making fire ground operations difficult.”

The post also noted “the structure has a high collapse potential.”

Garner later told Gephardt Daily the fire was knocked down at about 6:30 p.m., and the cleanup process had begun, but blaze has since rekindled. Firefighters were still on scene as of 3 a.m. with flames showing from the attic.


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