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WEST VALLEY CITY — Dark plumes of smoke again filled the skies above the Salt Lake Valley Saturday, this time from an apartment fire that left more than a dozen residents of the complex without a home.
West Valley City Fire Department responded to the two- alarm fire in West Valley City at 4514 S. 3820 West. The cause of the fire remained unknown, but the complex burst into flames about 4 p.m.
Red Cross officials said 16 people lost their homes in the fire.
Carol Strayer lives across the street from the apartment building and was at the scene watching firefighters battle the flames as she worried about a dear friend who lives in the complex there.
"I was in my house and I heard a pop ... my dog started growling and I went out and saw the police knocking on her door," Strayer said regarding her friend. "I yelled at the police and made them kick in the front door. She doesn't even realize how close it was."
Strayer said her friend, who had lived there for about 20 years, lost everything including 20 years of genealogy and a picture of an LDS temple that her grandfather had painted for her.
Fire crews remained at the scene Saturday evening, giving some area residents a chance to voice concern about fireworks and the coming Fourth of July holiday.
"They are going to have so many fires over the next two weeks, it's not even funny," Crystal Hansen, who lives across the street from the apartments that burned, said. "It's just too dry this year. I do purchase fireworks but I will not purchase any this year."
Fire officials said the cause remained unknown.
West Valley City has banned all fireworks west of Utah State Route 111, also known as 8400 West and Bacchus Highway. The city has also banned the use of all firearms within city limits.
An American Red Cross Disaster Action Team responded to the fire and is offering food, clothing and shelter to those affected by the fire.
"I hope they get out of here and they help these people," Barbara Forrest who also lives across the street from the complex said. "These people have nothing now and these aren't affluent people. They are going to need some help."
Jerry Rider a neighbor and member of the Salt Lake City Mission, a nonprofit inner-city ministry, said that the mission is also willing to help families with whatever they may need and said they should call the mission at 801-355-6310.