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MILLCREEK — It has been an emotional and long-anticipated day for some Millcreek business owners devastated by a massive fire that ripped through the strip mall.
For the first time, owners got to go inside their business to retrieve critical items.
"I have several hundred thousand dollars in inventory and my life in there," said an emotional Glade Baldwin, who owns Hyland Pharmacy.
Just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, flames shot dozens of feet into the air while many of the workers were still inside. The fire started in the construction area behind the strip mall, where apartments and retail space were being built.
Baldwin said it was painful to watch his business go up in flames.
"I'm 67 years old," he said. "I don't know if I have the strength and energy to be able to reestablish again. I love my customers."
Baldwin is one of 11 business owners, which includes the strip mall owner's business, that occupy the Millcreek strip mall, located at about 1300 East and 3200 South.
The owners were only given about 10 to 15 minutes Monday to grab essential items.
"Bare essentials, only emergency things, they are approved to take," said Maquette Sorenson, who owns the strip mall. "We don't know what we are going to find. We don't know what we are going to see inside."
"It's not good. There is a lot of water damage. It's black everywhere," said Rachel Rees, who owns Cookie Cutters — a haircut place for children.
Rees said she feels lucky everyone made it out alive.
"We are all OK, we made it out OK. All of our clients have been super compassionate," she said.
The challenge to rebuild is not going to be an easy one.
"They were barely hanging on during the pandemic, and they were just now standing on their own. They really believed the future was going to open up for them. Business was improving, and now, this hit," said Sorenson.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
A GoFundMe* account has been created to help business owners get back on their feet.
*KSL-TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.