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SLC bar Lake Effect catches fire, prompting 3-alarm response from fire crews

Posted at 7:04 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 23:58:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A popular Salt Lake City bar inside a historic downtown building closed abruptly until further notice, after a 3-alarm fire erupted inside the establishment Thursday evening.

Salt Lake City Fire believes the fire broke out in the kitchen of Lake Effect, though the exact cause is under investigation.

Captain Anthony Burton said they were dispatched around 4:30 pm, which is a half hour before Lake Effect opens to customers for the evening.

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Fire crews quickly upgraded the blaze from 2-alarm to 3-alarm, and Salt Lake City Police closed down 200 S. to keep people away from the area.

Malcolm Peck said he was just showing up to Lake Effect, where he said he works security.

“I went around to the back of the building— that’s where I usually go in— and there was flames, and smoke coming out of the back of the building," he recounted. "There was fire fighters grabbing anything they could out of the kitchen, throwing it out on the back patio so that they could actually fight the fire."

Capt. Burton explained that smoke and fire seeped into the walls and hidden board spaces.

Less than two hours later, crews got things under control and cleared the scene.

The Hotel Victor built in 1910, at 155 W. 200 S, looks relatively unscathed from the outside, but it's unclear how much the fire damaged the inside of the building.

Capt. Burton indicated that most of the damage stayed to the back of the building.

“That's what it looks like, we’ve kept it initially to that back area which looks like storage, coolers, cooking area," he said.

Peck said that Halloween weekend is usually extremely busy at Lake Effect, one of the busiest weekends of the year.

“I would say double the amount of people at least, we usually have a line all the way down to St. Patrick's [Pub]," he said.

According to social media posts, Lake Effect planned to host a Halloween costume contest Saturday night.

An online calendar also showed a full lineup of live bands every evening.

A steady stream of customers walked up to the door throughout Thursday evening, attempting to go inside.

Staff members hung a sign in the window next to the door that read: "Lake Effect will be closed until further notice due to a fire. Please check back/Thank you for the support."