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Woman jumps from burning building; 12 apartments destroyed

(Kristin Murphy, KSL)


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SALT LAKE CITY — At least two people were injured, including a woman who jumped from a third-story balcony, during a large apartment complex fire early Wednesday.

Salt Lake City fire crews were called to the Seasons at Pebble Creek Apartments, 1620 W. Snow Queen Place (1675 South), just after 2 a.m. The fire was believed to have started inside an apartment on the third floor, said Fire Capt. Dan Marlowe. By the time firefighters were able to get a hose to the third floor, the fire had burned through the roof and was spreading quickly through the attic, he said.

"At that point we decided that life safety was going to be the word of the day. Rather than continuing to fight the fire at that time, we evacuated the structure, went door to door, made sure there was nobody else inside of the building,” he said.

About 40 people were evacuated from the 12 units in the building. Surrounding apartment buildings were also evacuated as a precaution, but crews were able to prevent the flames from jumping to nearby structures.

Jim Pavlish was one of those evacuated from an adjacent building. He said he first started smelling smoke through an open window about 1:15 a.m. and thought it was just more smoke from the wildfires. But not long after, he realized it was something more.

"I hear screaming. Clearly it’s coming from real close. I look out, it’s the next building over," he said. "People are screaming. I go down to look. It looks like they got everybody out. One lady has inhaled a ton of smoke. People are in shock.”

At least two people suffered minor injuries. A woman who jumped from her third-floor balcony to escape suffered a twisted ankle, Marlowe said. Another man was treated for smoke inhalation. Both were transported to local hospitals for treatment.

The top floor of the apartment is considered a total loss, he said. And while fire destroyed the upper level, Marlowe said the lower levels suffered heavy water damage and will likely also be declared total losses. He did not know if tenants from the lower levels would be able to salvage any personal items.

A total of 24 apartments were "affected to varying degrees," according to Salt Lake City fire officials.

The Red Cross was on scene to help displaced residents. A cause of the fire was undetermined as of Wednesday morning. It took crews about 90 minutes to bring it under control.

Residents say this is at least the second fire in the complex in the past year.

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Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show the fire captain's last name is spelled Marlowe, not Marlow.

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