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Victim of downtown Salt Lake City apartment fire on Memorial Day feels lucky to be alive

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 00:51:26-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A fire at a downtown Salt Lake City apartment complex on Memorial Day killed one person and sent two others to the hospital.

One of those injured was Eli Bendoski.

Bendoski had lived in his third-story apartment at the Silverado Apartments for three years.

He said he woke up to a loud noise that morning, came outside on his balcony and saw that his apartment complex was on fire.

READ: Cause of Salt Lake City apartment fire released

"I believe I slipped on some sandals and looked out my front door into the hallway, and it was covered in just black smoke. You couldn't see anything," said Bendoski.

Bendoski told FOX 13 News on Monday that he could see smoke coming up from the floor as he made his way downstairs, and he found his friend face down on the ground.

"I picked him up and had to open up the door and get him out," he said. "Somebody came and helped me, and there were flames right next to the front door."

He says his friend was burned and taken to the hospital. Bendoski was also badly burned in the blaze.

"Second-degree burns on my hands," he said. "I hadn't realized that my face was very burned, and my nose was burned, and my eyes."

Bendoski said he has even struggled with his eyesight at times since this all happened.

He said he lost basically everything in the fire. He restores historic windows for a living and cannot work at this time because of the injuries to his hands.

After this fire, Bendoski says he feels lucky to be alive.

"I remember hesitating before I left, being like, 'Should I grab some valuables?' But I was like, 'No, that's probably a very unwise decision at this point,' you know?" he said. "And I think if I would have made that decision, I could have been more severely burned or even not made it."

Bendoski's brother has started a GoFundMe to help him get back on his feet after the fire.