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2 dead in Provo apartment fire


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PROVO -- Two people were killed and another person hospitalized with burns in a fast-moving fire late Monday at the same Provo apartment complex where a woman died in fire in January of 2009.

Between six and eight units at The Boulders Apartments, 750 S. 650 West, were damaged in the fire that began just after 9 p.m. Several of those apartments were gutted in the blaze.

When firefighters arrived, they went into defensive mode just trying to get water onto the flames. Crews were immediately concerned about getting everyone out who may have been inside. Once they were able to enter the building, they conducted room-to-room searches looking for anyone who may be trapped.

Firefighters discovered two deceased victims in separate apartments across the hall from each other. One is a woman, but information about the other victim is unknown. The identities of the victims were not immediately known.

Another woman was confirmed injured in the fire. She suffered inhalation burns and was flown to University of Utah Hospital for treatment.

A neighbor said he knew a woman who lived in an apartment above the unit where the fire started. He said she died in the fire.

"Someone saw her through the window but she couldn't get out," said Robert Andrews.

Two neighbors said they helped a woman jump from her burning second floor apartment and helped brace her fall. They tried to encourage another tenant to jump from her window, but she refused.

"You could see flames in the background and she just would not jump," neighbor Patric Bates told the Deseret News.

But after firefighters moved the neighbors away from the area, Bates and others turned to watch that woman jump from the building on her own. She landed on her back. Firefighters quickly pulled the woman to safety.

"The smoke was all over her. If she wouldn't have jumped, she would have caught on fire," said Megan Parsons, who along with her husband Brian Parsons were driving by the apartment complex and stopped to help when they noticed the smoke.

"There was double flames on both sides," Brian Parsons said, referring to the back and front of the building.

Witnesses said at least two residents had to break out windows in order to escape to safety.

The fire was extinguished around 10 p.m. There is no information yet as to how the fire began.

The American Red Cross arrived at the apartments to help displaced residents find shelter for the night.

On Jan. 20, 2009, a woman was killed in a fire at the same complex. Karen Jorgensen, 55, who lived in an upper level apartment, died in the fire that destroyed 12 units.

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Written with contributions from Sam Penrod, Paul Koepp and Amanda Verzello.

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