LOCAL NEWS

Business Owners Return To See Damage Caused By Massive Millcreek Fire

Jun 21, 2021, 6:21 PM | Updated: Jun 22, 2021, 11:46 am

MILLCREEK, Utah — 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. 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.

Massive Millcreek Construction Site Fire Causes Millions In Damages

“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, including the strip mall owner’s business, that occupies the Millcreek strip mall, located near 1300 East and 3200 South.

The owners were finally able to assess the damage Monday. They also were given about 10 to 15 minutes 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.

“It was speechless for me. When I got in there, everything was completely burned — from pedicure chairs to manicure tables, everything was completely destroyed,” said Hai Tran, owner of Luxury Nails, who grabbed some documents, cash and a cell phone.

Next door at Jung’s Alterations, piles and piles of wedding dresses had to be rescued.

“More and more customers kept coming. ‘I need my wedding dress. I need this dress.’ So they told us, ‘Take your time, get all the wedding dresses,'” said Sorenson.

“Grabbed all of their scissors, clippers — things that are necessary to try to continue to work,” said Kami Flinders, who owns Amari Salon and Spa.

Flinders was there the day the fire erupted and saw the building next door in flames just a few feet away.

“It went from big to huge really fast,” she said. “It’s hard. It’s hard to, sorry (I) get emotional, have everything turned upside down just so quickly.”

The business owners have no idea when they’ll be able to get back to work, or where they’ll go in the meantime.

They said to see their shops so damaged is devastating.

“It’s very sad for me to look at everything we have done for this place,” said Tran. “We put heart and soul into the business, and to see it destroyed in a matter of two hours.”

But many are still trying to stay positive, even in the wake of tragedy.

“On the long term, we don’t know what will happen. We’re just resilient, we’re creative and we plan to make it,” said Tran.

Rees said she feels lucky everyone made it out alive.

“We are all okay, we made it out okay. 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.

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Business Owners Return To See Damage Caused By Massive Millcreek Fire