LOCAL NEWS

Evacuee thankful no one died in fire that destroyed Richfield building

Nov 22, 2022, 3:47 PM | Updated: 8:03 pm

RICHFIELD, Utah — A man who was left homeless after fire destroyed a low income housing facility in Richfield was thankful everyone made it out alive.

The fire displaced dozens of residents. 

On Tuesday morning, the fire marshal and building inspector began their investigation into the cause.

“We’re gonna be okay,” said Cabel Faatz. 

Faatz and his wife were two of about 75 evacuated residents. 

Faatz said he and his wife lost some family photos, jewelry, and needed medications. 

He said he was grateful for the support system that has helped him.

Trent Lloyd, Police Chief, responded to the fire. 

“It became chaos real quick,” he Lloyd. 

Lloyd said the damage was so extensive, they were worried about the building collapsing. 

“When the roof did go, they luckily had everybody out,” he said.

“Everybody in a small community like this came together,” Faatz said.

 The Red Cross responded as well. 

“The community jumped in. It didn’t matter who we called, they were, ‘Yep. We’ll be right there,'”Lloyd said.

Faatz said he’s thankful everyone made it out alive.  

All that can be replaced. Life can’t be,” he added.

‘I HAVE OFFICIALLY LOST EVERYTHING’

Gabby Burgess also found herself without a home after the fire. “I was like, ‘oh my gosh, this is really happening,’” she said.

At approximately 7:30 Monday evening residents rushed to evacuate after hearing fire alarms and seeing smoke.

“There were people frantically running around and the doors shut. And we had a hard time getting those doors at the end of the hallway to open and we thought we were all trapped in there for a moment,” she explained. “It was terrifying.”

She grabbed her one-and-half-year-old son and got out.

“Right from the start there were people there that we like, ‘Get in my car. My car’s warm. Come here. I’m here to help,’” she said.

Ashly Richards was at work as the fire destroyed the building.

“Everything was inside,” she said. “Everything I got from my grandma when she died. I officially have lost everything.”

WHAT’S LEFT IS UNSAFE

Displaced residents were told Tuesday that they can’t retrieve belongings because it’s not safe.

Lloyd said,  “It’s just not structurally sound anymore. The whole roof’s gone. The whole upper floor isn’t safe to get on.”

State fire investigators combed through the ashes and found the room where the blaze started.

The cause, however, is still undetermined.

There has been an outpouring of community support for those now left homeless.

Neighbors have donated tables of clothing, shoes, toiletries, bedding, and food.

Burgess said, “My heart is broken. But there are people there to help hold the pieces together.

“And I am forever grateful,” Richards said.

Mayor Bryan Burrows said roughly 40 firefighters responded and 20 law enforcement from surrounding cities and Sevier County.

“The flames at the top of the building are a story and a half tall compared with the rest of the building,” Jeffery said.

Fire has been a huge concern for city leaders with this building. It was purchased recently by an investor and turned into low-income housing.

In just the last couple of weeks, the city rezoned the building under the conditions the owner would bring it up to code.

Burrows told KSL this is the exact type of thing he and his constituents were concerned with.

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Evacuee thankful no one died in fire that destroyed Richfield building