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Business owners devastated after losing everything in West Valley City strip mall fire

Posted at 4:28 PM, Jun 07, 2024

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Business owners at a West Valley City strip mall are left wondering about their future after multiple stores were deemed a total loss following a 3-alarm fire Thursday. 

Victoria Leo was supposed to be spending her Friday preparing her favorite Peruvian dishes for the lunch and dinner rush at her restaurant.

"The restaurant, we started in December of 2021 ... on top of a lot of hard work and sacrifice, we started this business, and now after many years, this disgrace happens," said Leo.

Instead, Leo, her family and small staff set up a canopy as they waited outside in the heat for answers after the fire forced Vicky's Peruvian to close.

"I called all the coworkers and we evacuated and told everyone to get out because it was not safe," said Ricardo, who works at the restaurant. "Workers left IDs, passports, wallets, purses, cell phones, they were all left behind."

It's not hard to see the extensive damage the fire caused to the strip mall. Fire officials say four businesses have been deemed a total loss after a roof collapsed, while another suffered heavy water damage.

"This is my everyday job, and now myself my family and my employees will be without a job, and we don’t know when they will return and we are so sad about this situation," Leo shared. 

Crews battled the blaze and the heat for hours into Friday morning, with one firefighter sustaining a shoulder injury.
 
"It was hot and that's why we had an apparatus of people here, you gotta rotate them out," explained West Valley City Fire Chief John Evans.

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation as crews wait to get into the roof, the damage is estimated to run up to $2 million.

For Victoria, she's holding back tears thinking about the years of hard work and memories that have now burned.

"We will continue to fight every day for our business."