Firefighters battle blaze across the street from fire station

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SALT LAKE CITY — Firefighters extinguished a blaze in an apartment building Thursday that's located directly across the street from their own fire station.

Salt Lake Fire Capt. Mark Bednarik said considerable damage had already been done the building at 1016 E. 900 South by the time calls started coming in just before 6:30 a.m.

Firefighters coming down from the station's sleeping quarters could see through the windows that flames were shooting "about 20 feet above the roofline," he said.

"Although our stations are well strategically placed, we can get anywhere in the city in about four minutes, it's definitely helpful to have this occur right across the street," Bednarik said.

The fire was out in 30 minutes once crews arrived, he said.

Residents in the building awoke to the smell of smoke, and neighbors began alerting each other to evacuate. Finding them out in the street, firefighters rushed residents, many of whom were in pajamas and bare feet, into the fire station to get them out of the cold, according to Bednarik.

The building sustained heavy fire damage on the third floor, where one unit was "completely gutted," he said. Firefighters also had to cut into the building's roof in order to vent smoke and fight flames in the attic.

Units next to the burning residence sustained smoke damage, while all the units below were damaged by water from firefighters.

About half of the residents in the building were expected to be allowed to return to their homes by the end of the day Thursday, Bednarik said. The rest were offered assistance by the Red Cross.

Fire officials said the blaze was caused by candles left burning in an apartment unit. A damage estimate starts at $50,000.

Contributing: Mary Richards


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