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Fireworks blamed for fire that caused Midvale tenants to jump to safety

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)


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MIDVALE — Two people were forced to jump from their windows for safety early Wednesday as a large fire ripped through an apartment complex.

By Wednesday afternoon, investigators were looking at fireworks as the likely cause of the fire, said Unified Fire Authority Battalion Chief Steve Prokopis.

The fireworks are believed to have either ignited a shrubbery near a second-story balcony or the balcony itlself. Whether those fireworks were being lit from the balcony or under it remained under investigation.

The fire at the Chelsea Park Apartments, 7351 S. Catalpa St. (450 West), started just after midnight. Fire crews arrived to find a flames on a second-story balcony extending to the third floor, Prokopis said.

Thirty-eight units of the building were occupied, he said. The Red Cross said 79 people were affected.

Most people were able to safely get out on their own, Prokopis said. Two people, however, had to jump from their third-story windows. They jumped into the arms of a good Samaritan below.

"Catching someone from three stories is a pretty tough task," Prokopis said of the good Samaritan's heroics.

All three were later taken to a local hospital with minor injuries related to the jump, he said.

Two others were rescued by firefighters using ladders, Prokopis said. He did not immediately know Wednesday which floor they were on.

Several dogs, cats and a couple of birds were killed in the fire, but exact numbers were not immediately available Wednesday.

Three apartments suffered heavy fire damage, and three suffered water damage, with smoke damage throughout the building, Prokopis said. It took crews about an hour to bring the fire under control.

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Pat Reavy

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