Murray officers rescue four in fast-moving apartment fire

Oct 7, 2022, 10:56 PM
Police rescued four from an apartment fire in Murray, Utah on Oct. 7, 2022 at 309 E. 4500 South. (C...
Police rescued four from an apartment fire in Murray, Utah on Oct. 7, 2022 at 309 E. 4500 South. (Courtesy Kimberly Nielson)
(Courtesy Kimberly Nielson)

MURRAY, Utah — Officers rescued four residents and multiple pets from a fast-moving apartment fire Friday evening. Firefighters said dispatch started receiving calls about the fire, that was producing a plume of smoke, at approximately 5:40 p.m.

“The smoke was just too much,” said Kimberly Nielson, who lives at the Cottonwood Creek Estates, 309 E. 4500 South. “At one point I could actually see the flames through the window.”

When Murray City Police Officer Kevin Marquardson arrived, he said the smoke was thick and “chaos” was everywhere around him.

“I went for the darkest of the smoke I could find,” Marquardson said. “(I) came back to get a breath and that’s when we’re seeing people coming to the windows, trying to get them to come out the windows, running back in—so that was kind of the main goal was to get them out. My thoughts were get as many people and animals out as we could.”

Marquardson and other officers helped three people escape from an apartment and another from a balcony. They also rescued multiple pets.

“The fact that every human being got out alive and safe—it was awesome,” Marquardson said. “It’s even great when somebody comes and thanks me for getting their cat out. I’m not a cat person but we’d try to get them all out as much as we can.”

Murray Fire Chief Joseph Mittelman commended the actions of officers, noting that firefighters generally also get more aggressive in situations like these with older apartments. He said those types of structures are less likely to have modern sprinkler systems and interconnected fire alarms.

“We had officers not only in the basement doing rescues but off the balcony,” Mittelman said. “We’re very grateful for Murray Police Department today and we’re thankful for their help.”

Mittelman said the fire appeared to have started in an apartment bedroom and then spread to a bathroom and toward the balcony. The cause remained under investigation, he said.

Fire officials said 36 people were temporarily displaced by the fire, but 21 were expected to be allowed to return by Monday. Nielson also applauded the speedy work of officers.

“It happened really fast, too, so I’m really grateful for that,” Nielson said.

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Murray officers rescue four in fast-moving apartment fire