Demolition begins, businesses still closed weeks after Sugar House fire

Nov 11, 2022, 10:17 AM | Updated: 2:28 pm

SUGAR HOUSE, Utah  — More than two weeks after a fire tore through an apartment complex under construction in Sugar House, businesses are still closed and crews have started demolishing what’s left of the building.

A Salt Lake City fire captain said Thursday that investigators are still working to figure out the cause of the fire that forced hundreds out of nearby apartments for days. He said they were reviewing early pictures and video of the fire to help determine what happened.

But if you go to Highland Drive in Sugar House you will find part of the road is still blocked off. A fence still lines the street. And several businesses remain closed.

“It seems like an unending situation,” Shere Brunjes, owner of the Sport Clips that sits on the ground level of the Vue apartments, facing the now charred remains of the building, said.

Brunjes can’t access her shop because her only entrance and the sidewalk and road that lead to it fall in the collapse zone of the demolition.

“We understand that it is a dangerous situation,” she said. “There’s nothing we can do right now.”

But after more than two weeks of waiting, Brunjes is grateful for any kind of progress. She visits the area everyday and on Thursday was excited to learn the demolition equipment had arrived and crews were taking it apart.

“That was like, the best news ever,” she said.

But while she’s happy to see the heavy equipment, she and other business owners nearby are growing frustrated with the lack of a clear timeline for when they can reopen.

“What they said was, ‘It’s not days. It’s not months. It’s weeks,’” she said.

In the meantime, Brunjes said they have continued to pay their hair stylists and try to help them get work at their two other locations, on 4th South and 6th East near Trader Joes and 1842 S 300 W near Costco.

Still, they’ve already lost one employee and they “don’t want to lose anyone else.”

“We don’t want to lose our businesses. None of the businesses here want to go under because of this and that is a real thing that could happen.”

Brunjes emphasized that several of the businesses around the corner on Highland Drive are still open but are also struggling because people think they’re closed. She said there is free underground parking accessible on the west side of their building near The Habitat Burger Grill.

“I don’t even want to think about having to shut. I think that would just be heartbreaking.”

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Demolition begins, businesses still closed weeks after Sugar House fire