2-alarm apartment fire displaces 8 West Jordan families

Posted at 2:13 PM, Mar 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-17 16:13:23-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah -- Investigators are working to determine the cause of a two-alarm fire that engulfed the second and third floors of an apartment complex in West Jordan and displaced eight families.

The fire began around 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Broadmoor Village Apartments near 3375 West and 7800 South. Firefighters said flames and smoke filled the second and third floors of building 13 in that complex.

Resident Julian Spears said he and other residents tried to help people out of the area.

"It was pretty intense,” he said. “I was more emotional just trying to help the male of the party get out from the flames because he was scared, and he was gonna jump, but he shimmied down the gutter and I grabbed his leg, and we made it though."

Spears said adrenaline and emotion helped him keep his focus.

"My adrenaline was going but my emotions at the same time," he said. "I had a family, and he had some daughters. The main focus was to get him and his family out as fast as possible."

Andrew Thornock witnessed the fire, and he came to help.

"I'm trained in first aid, so I ran around, got here long before the first officer did, long before the first fire crew got here," he said. "And that front room, man, that porch was just engulfed. It was just an inferno fireball."

Everyone was evacuated safely. Marc McElreath, Salt Lake City Fire Department, said the fire started in a kitchen on the second floor. He said the second and first floors sustained smoke damage while the third floor is a total loss. It took about 40 firefighters more than an hour to put out the flames.

The total cost of damages is estimated at $250,000. Four of the eight people displaced are expected to be able to return home Sunday night, while the other four are working with the American Red Cross to find places to stay.