23 Families Displaced In 3-Alarm Layton Apartment Fire

Jul 23, 2019, 6:24 PM | Updated: 8:05 pm

LAYTON, Utah – A raging fire chased nearly two dozen families out of a Layton apartment complex and caused as much as $2 million in damage.

The fast-moving fire Monday displaced 23 families and individuals. While investigators try to figure out what caused that 3-alarm fire at the Layton Meadows Apartments, one resident who evacuated was especially thankful for the one thing she did not lose.

Pamela Chandler was not at home in her apartment when the fire broke out, but saw it and raced home.

“When I realized it was my building, I just sat here and worried,“ she said while sitting across from the burned-out building.

She was worried about her cats, Bugsy and Spike, inside the apartment.

“When I watched it burn I knew there was no way,“ she said, fearing her cat had not survived the fire.

Bugsy did survive the fire behind the bolted apartment door.

“He was in there the whole time,“ she said.

The two were reunited Tuesday, and thankful – but she was still uncertain about what to do now.

“I’m on the top apartment on that side,” she said, pointing to the building. “I’m sure everything is either smoke damaged, water damaged, or burned – but my kitty is alive, and that’s all that matters.”

MORE: 3-Alarm Fire Rips Through Layton Apartment Building

“This was a hard fight yesterday,“ said Battalion Chief Brad Wilkes with the Layton Fire Department.

The temperature was 103°, and fighting a fire in the midst of older building construction was problematic.

“(It was) super difficult – one of the worst ones,“ he said.

The fire started around 2:30 p.m. in a ground level unit and quickly spread to the second floor.

“Once it got in the attic, it was very difficult to stop,“ said Wilkes.

Firefighters initially reported the fire was caused by a cooking fire. Some residents suspected a barbecue in use inside the apartment where the fire began. They told KSL they had complained about that resident before.

“I don’t even understand why you would put a barbecue in an apartment,” said Kim Bennett, who has lived at the apartment complex with her husband for nine years. “It’s outside equipment. It’s not like you’re supposed to have it in your house.“

The Layton Fire Marshal said they are investigating that claim, starting at square one, in order to determine what caused the fire.

“Right now, we cannot substantiate anything. So, we have a full investigation going on for a cause and origin,” said Wilkes.

They were still gathering witness statements, he said, and gathering evidence.

“We start fresh. We don’t make any assumptions,“ he said.

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23 Families Displaced In 3-Alarm Layton Apartment Fire