Some Sugar House fire evacuees still not allowed back as demolition continues

Oct 27, 2022, 11:05 PM | Updated: Oct 28, 2022, 8:55 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Some evacuees of the Sugar House fire still can’t go home, and found out Thursday evening that there’s no set timeline on when they can return.

The fire tore through an unoccupied apartment complex under construction this week, leading to the evacuation of more than 1,000 people in two neighboring apartment communities.

While most have returned home, those living in The Vue and Sugarmont complexes in units that face the site of the blaze are still under evacuation orders.

Stacey Jackson-Roberts lives in Sugarmont, facing the site and right now is living in a hotel room with her two dogs.

Jackson-Roberts explained how she was allowed to return to her unit briefly to grab a small suitcase of belongings. Thursday evening, Sugarmont sent her an email explaining the need for her to stay evacuated.

“At this time, authorities have stated that residents still cannot enter the Wilmington-facing apartment homes including yours,” the email states. “Structurally, the top two floors of the burnt building are not being held up by anything. As a result, the structural engineer for that building, the building inspector and the fire chief do not feel it is safe to return until they make further progress.”

The email concludes by saying that crews will continue taking the building down through the night to make progress.

No timeline estimate was given in the email, leaving Jackson-Roberts unsure of how long it will take.

“Not knowing if this is going to be 24 hours, 72 hours, a week, or longer-term given that structure and the instability — it’s really difficult to really make plans and figure out where we need to go,” she said. “You know, pay hotel by the night, versus a long-term stay? Or working with my insurance company around setting up more permanent temporary housing?”

Right now, Jackson-Roberts said she is paying for her hotel stay, and friends have been chipping in to help her with the cost.

She’s also worried about any damage to her apartment including smoke damage, and if any cleanup would need to be done when she’s allowed back in.

The Salt Lake City Fire Department said Thursday that they expect to release more information Friday at 10 a.m. They said they expect to stay onsite for firefighting efforts for the next 72 hours. The fire is still burning as demolition continues.

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Some Sugar House fire evacuees still not allowed back as demolition continues