Clearfield apartment complex fire displaces several families
CLEARFIELD, Utah — Four or five families have been displaced after at least two units of an apartment complex in Clearfield were severely damaged by a fire.
The incident happened at the Lakeview Heights Apartments around 11 a.m. Sunday.
Chief Mark Becraft with the North Davis Fire District said one of the four apartments was heavily-involved when they arrived on scene, with flames moving up to the roof.
Initially, firefighters worked to evacuate everyone from the building. They then took about 30 minutes to an hour to get the fire under control, according to Becraft.
Witnesses told KSL-TV that the fire started in a shed behind one of the units, and quickly spread to a car and the back of two units. They said they heard and saw explosions.
They said children were screaming and crying as they ran from their apartments, with no coats or shoes on.
Tara Cooper said she grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to help.
“I started spraying the car because the flames had gotten to the car and I was afraid it was going to explode,” she recounted.
“She is in total shock, kids crying. They’re all in shock,” she said.
Two units are a total loss and several families have been displaced.
Fortunately, no firefighters or occupants were injured in the blaze.
Becraft said other units are being evaluated for smoke damage, adding that damage has been estimated at approximately $500,000.
Devin Rogers, assistant chief for Clearfield City, said police took one person into custody.
Cameron Grover, 23, was booked into the Davis County Jail for investigation of criminal mischief charges for recklessly endangering human life, which Rogers says is a 2nd-degree felony due to the amount of damage caused.
Rogers says they haven’t pursued arson because Grover claimed it was unintentional, but police believe it was reckless.
The 23-year-old was cooperative and talked with police, according to Rogers, telling them he went to the location Saturday night, adding that he was visiting a friend, who ended up not being home. As the night wore on, Grover said he became cold and didn’t have anywhere to go, so he lit a fire in a shed behind the apartment complex and stayed there overnight. When he left the next morning, he says he forgot to put it out.
Police say Grover could also face burglary charges because he didn’t have permission to be in that shed.
The incident remains under investigation by the State Fire Marshal, North Davis Fire District and Clearfield Police Department.
Property owners and the American Red Cross are coordinating to help the families who were affected.
“It’s a heartache, complete heartache for all the families that are displaced today,” Cooper said.
While Cooper lives far enough away that she wasn’t affected, she said her daughter-in-law and grandkids have lost everything from smoke and water damage. She said the Red Cross will put them in a hotel, and her 3-year-old granddaughter will stay with her.
“We are a big huge family in this complex,” Cooper said, adding, “We will pull everybody together and everybody is going to be okay. At the end of the day, we’re all going to be okay.”
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