Crews extinguish blaze at apartment complex in West Valley City

Posted at 10:33 AM, Feb 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-12 19:33:34-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- Residents in several units are displaced Sunday after a fire broke out at an apartment complex in West Valley City.

The structure fire started just before 9 a.m. in the Aspenwoods Apartments at 4100 South and 4000 West, according to officials at Valley Emergency Communications Center.

Battalion Chief Bob Fitzgerald, West Valley City Fire, said when they arrived on scene heavy smoke was pouring from one side of the complex while the other side had substantial flames. He said they began by making sure all residents were accounted for.

“Our first priority is what we call a primary search, and that’s when we’re going to go in and make sure everybody is out," he said.

Fitzgerald said a leaky hydrant and a repeatedly renovated roof made the fire a little tricky to get under control.

“We have a fire hydrant that is leaking quite a bit... that was an issue because a fire like this, you need a lot of water," Fitzgerald said. "Our fire engines carry 500 gallons of water, but on a fire like this that can go very, very quickly."

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Fitzgerald said it appears the fire began on the outside and worked its way up the structure. He said two units were damaged by the fire, and he estimated residents in another handful of units will be displaced due to smoke and water damage.

One police officer assisting with the evacuations suffered from smoke inhalation, but he was checked out and determined to be OK. There were no other injuries reported. Fitzgerald said they are grateful to West Valley City PD for their assistance in evacuating residents.

Within about an hour the fire was under control, but crews remained on scene to check for hot spots and make sure the fire would not reignite.