Dozens still evacuated as crews demolish smoldering building

Oct 27, 2022, 10:54 AM | Updated: 11:22 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens of people who were evacuated due to a fire at an under-construction apartment complex in Sugar House were still not allowed to go home Wednesday night.

As crews continue trying to put out the fire, there are still apartments crews don’t consider safe. Part of the reason is a demolition effort of one building.

That building, that sits on Highland Drive just south of 2100 South, is very close to the Vue apartments. So, those that live on the fire-facing side of the building, as well as those at Sugarmont that look directly at the fire-stricken buildings, will have to wait until the building is completely demolished.

Crews started that effort Wednesday evening, but Capt. Tony Stowe with the Salt Lake City Fire Department said it’s going to a be a long, slow process that could take a couple of days.

Grace Miller is one of the unlucky ones.

“We just got word that now people can start finally coming back in, but people that face the apartments can’t move back in until they demolish the building,” she said.

Crews are using an excavator that uses a ripper to cut through the mangled metal and scaffolding that still remain intact. The goal is to work from the outside so the building collapses inward, therefore not damaging nearby buildings.

Federal fire investigators are piecing together evidence to try to determine how this happened. Meanwhile, crews have days of work ahead.

“We’re talking five stories of internally-collapsed material that’s smoldering inside there,” Stowe said. “We’re just going to expose and soak, expose and soak, until we can get it under control.”

And that means those who live near the burned-out building could be left finding another place to stay for a few more days.

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Dozens still evacuated as crews demolish smoldering building