Breaking: Suspected arson fire destroys apartment building in West Valley City

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, Feb. 1, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Crews were dispatched  Saturday night to a two-alarm fire in a building at Overlook Point Apartments, and officials have been told by witnesses that the blaze may be the result of arson.

Deputy Chief Chris Beichner, with the West Valley City Fire Department, said crews were called at 8:25 p.m. to an apartment fire at the complex at 2889 W. 4610 South.

“We had heavy involvement on the upper floor,” Beichner said. “Two units upstairs were fully involved and it was coming through the roof. We made a two-alarm request.”

The cause of the blaze is currently under investigation; however, witnesses told officials that a man and woman were arguing prior to the fire.

“At this time, we have reports that this was a possible domestic violence scene,” Beichner said, “and when it ended, it seems like the suspect came back and threw a Molotov cocktail into the unit. The police right now are trying to get leads and talking to people. I believe the police have a good idea of who the suspect is.”

“It took a good 45 minutes to get the fire under control,” he said. “One of the problems was access and the fire trucks everywhere.”

Crews were able to get the ladder trucks in place and made entry to the building’s interior.

“We had a loss on two units, and the lower units have water damage through the floors,” he said.

The building has a total of eight apartments. None of the neighboring buildings were damaged.

Beichner said 55 to 60 firefighters were on scene with approximately 20 apparatus. West Valley City Police also responded.

There were three reports of smoke inhalation but no injuries or burns. Beichner said the smoke was “pretty thick” and may have triggered an asthma attack in one of the inhalation patients.

Fire crews will probably remain on scene for the next couple of hours to make sure the fire is thoroughly extinguished, he said.

Once the firefighters are finished, arson investigators will go in and try to find the origin of the fire, collect evidence, and then work with the police department on apprehending the suspect.

“It’ll be up to the property management to get construction crews in here and start the rebuilding process,” he said.

The Red Cross had been contacted and is assisting the residents displaced by the fire.

Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information becomes available.


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