SANDY, Utah, June 26, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Wayward sparks from a welder’s torch are the cause of devastating three-alarm blaze that heavily damaged, if not destroyed, a Sandy business Saturday.
Sandy’s Deputy Fire Chief Ryan McConaghie told Gephardt Daily on scene that firefighters were dispatched to Pinnacles Gymnastics at 9127 S. 255 West about 8 p.m. When crews arrived they could see smoke and flames “coming out of the side” of the 10,000-square-foot business.
“The owner was inside with his daughter doing some welding. The welding kind of got away from them and got onto some of the mats and the flammable equipment around him before he realized what was going on,” McConaghie said.
“He tried to hit it with an extinguisher and it quickly spread. He called 911 and got out of the structure.
“They suffered a little minor bit of smoke inhalation” and were being treated at the hospital, McConaghie said.
“This quickly evolved into a second, and then a third alarm fire, where we have about 15 to 17 units on scene. I’d say 45 or so firefighters are working on all sides of this building in total.
“It’s about a 25,000-square-foot structure. The Pinnacles’ portion of it is about 10,000 square feet,” McConaghie said.
“And, you can see, they’re still working on it … meaning that they are sending people inside … making sure that it’s not spreading and then just trying to get into a position where they can attack that fire safely.”
McConaghie said Pinnacle’s roof was compromised, “and we’re not putting any people on top of it. Obviously, this is still a work in progress. They’re trying to get to where they can find the hotspots.”
First responders from agencies in Sandy, Murray, South Jordan, West Jordan, Draper and Unified District joined in the firefighting effort. “It’s pretty much everybody that surrounds Sandy has come to help out, you know, with it being a third alarm fire, so lots of people are here working trying to be safe.
“There’s nobody inside. There’s no big hurry to try to rush in there and do anything, so it’s pointless to risk any injury or anything like that. We’re just being cautious and treating it as a defensive fire.”
When asked about the nature of the fire, Deputy Chief McConaghie said, “It’s just always a good reminder, when you’re doing work and that sort of thing, have a spotter … especially when you’re doing any kind of ‘hot work,’ like welding.
“It was probably a big surprise when he flipped his mask up and saw that that fire had started burning so quickly. So yeah, it’s a good idea to use a spotter, clear any type of conduction combustibles away from where you’re working.”
While the damage is extensive inside Pinnacles, the other business spaces inside the complex suffered mostly smoke damage.
The smoke from the fire was seen for miles. Among those who witnessed the rising column of black billowing smoke were the Real Salt Lake soccer fans inside the crowded Rio Tinto Stadium. Play was not affected.
Total damage estimates have yet to be determined.
The official cause of the fire remains under investigation.