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Residents say fire alarms didn't go off in Salt Lake apartment blaze, but building was up to code

A man walks up the stairs at the Incline Terrace Condos at 1032 E. 400 South during an investigation of a fire in Salt Lake City on Monday, June 28, 2021.

A man walks up the stairs at the Incline Terrace Condos at 1032 E. 400 South during an investigation of a fire in Salt Lake City on Monday, June 28, 2021. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)


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SALT LAKE CITY — It's too soon to tell what caused a massive fire at a Salt Lake City apartment building Monday, but firefighters are continuing to monitor the building to make sure the blaze doesn't flare up again.

Some residents reported that fire alarms didn't go off in the building during the fire and others said they heard alarms, but the sound was faint. Fire investigators said the building was up to code with the alarm system it had.

The fire broke out at about 2 a.m. Monday at the Incline Terrace Condos, located at 1032 E. 400 South. More than 100 firefighters responded to the blaze, Salt Lake City Fire Department Capt. Anthony Burton said on Tuesday.

Everyone is safe and accounted for as of Tuesday, he said.

Four firefighters were injured while fighting the fire, and two of them were transported to local hospitals, but Burton said all four are expected to recover.

Firefighters will continue to monitor the location to ensure the fire doesn't start up again. Crews are allowing some residents into the building to retrieve belongings.

No cause for the fire has been determined and it's too early to tell if it may have been human-caused, Burton said. No word yet on the cost or value of damages sustained.

Firefighters rescued multiple people and animals when they arrived on scene early Monday. The building is located on the fault line hill in eastern Salt Lake City, so the terrain made for a difficult rescue, Burton said.

He said the building was constructed in the 1970s and because of that the building's code doesn't require a building-wide fire alarm or sprinkler system. Instead, the building had a localized smoke detector system, where the owners of the individual units are responsible for installing their own smoke detectors.

The building was up to date with code, Burton said, adding that since the fire was reported on the fourth and fifth floors, smoke detectors in units on the lower floors of the building likely wouldn't have gone off. The building had smoke detectors in common areas.

"The alarms did what they were designed to do," he said.

Burton said firefighters appreciated that residents of the building were so quick and organized with their evacuation in what became a difficult, large-scale rescue operation. Crews also were grateful that some residents also were quick to notify their neighbors that a fire was happening, he said.

"Without the public's help, it makes things difficult," Burton said

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