Fire crews battle 2-alarm blaze in Salt Lake City apartment building

Salt Lake City fire crews raced to a two-alarm fire in an older apartment building at 1820 W. 700 North on Friday night, Jan. 24, 2020. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 24, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Fire crews raced to a two-alarm fire in an older apartment building Friday night in Salt Lake City.

Capt. Tony Stowe, with the Salt Lake City Fire Department, said crews were called out at about 9:15 p.m. to 1820 W. 700 North.

They were able to get the fire under control fairly quickly, even though there was some extension of the flames into the attic space.

The fire was in a third-floor apartment, Stowe said, adding that most older buildings have a common attic space, and although he couldn’t confirm that was the case with this building, it was just one reason firefighters wanted to get a handle on the blaze, before it could spread to adjacent apartments.

A broken window on the west side of the building was spewing smoke and flames when fire crews arrived, so they were “throwing water straight into the building,” Stowe said.

The entire structure was evacuated as a safety precaution, and one woman who was in the apartment where the fire is believed to have started was transported to a local hospital for treatment of heat and smoke inhalation.

Stowe said the woman was conscious but unable to get herself out of the apartment. Her injuries were “minor to moderate,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Stowe said officials believe it started inside the apartment, but they don’t know if it was caused by an appliance or some other source.

No estimate of damage was available, but Stowe said water from fire hoses had migrated through all the apartments below, and crews were working at pumping some of the water out through the basement.

A second alarm was called because of the high-occupancy of the building and the fact that it’s an older structure, which can present some challenges when fighting a fire.

“Access is a big issue,” Stowe said. “Also the construction type. A lot of walls are common, allowing rapid travel of fire. And the type of entries…with stairways.”

All of those factors can cut off escape routes if the fire isn’t brought down quickly.

Stowe said 30 to 40 firefighters responded to the scene.

The Red Cross also was requested to help at least three families needing accommodations.


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