Fire captain shares advice on escaping an apartment blaze

Oct 26, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: 6:24 pm

sugar house fire aftermath pictured...

The aftermath of a fire at an apartment building under construction near 1040 E. 2220 South in Sugar House in Salt Lake City is pictured on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. The fire, which started Tuesday night, prompted the overnight evacuation of hundreds of nearby residents. Residential evacuations have now been lifted. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A four-alarm fire burned an apartment building under construction early Wednesday morning and forced the evacuation of 200 people. No one was injured. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Tips from a professional

Unified Fire Capt. Eric Holmes of the Unified Fire Authority (which supplied one unit in the firefighting effort Tuesday night) joins KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic with Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to share advice on escaping an apartment fire.

Holmes said stay low and calm and move to the stairwells; they are a safe place in the event of a fire.

“The stairwells have fire doors associated with them. In some buildings, those close automatically in case of fires, so people can be safe in those stairwells for a time,” he said.

Rainbow Restoration advises to do the following during an apartment fire:

  • Don’t rush out into the hallway. Feel the door with the back of your hand; if it feels hot, find another way out.
  • Use the stairs, not the elevator.
  • Close all doors behind you as you escape in order to slow the fire’s spread.
  • Listen carefully to any announcements broadcast over the loudspeakers.
  • If you’re unable to escape, stuff wet towels or linens around the door and call the fire department to tell them where you are. If possible, open the window and signal for help.
    Once out of the building, stay out. If you think someone’s trapped inside, notify the fire department.

In addition, the fire captain said cover vents to prevent smoke from rising up and into the apartment. Holmes added opening windows can usher in smoke and fire into a room. 

Elevators are out as a way to escape an apartment fire, but what about the disabled residents who can’t use the stairs to flee?

“Ideally, there’s something called an evacuation chair in the stairwells,” Holmes said. “This is a perfect opportunity to help your neighbor if you know of somebody or see somebody that is struggling. Try to grab one of those evacuation chairs and get them out to safety with you.”


Sugar House fire evacuees share their stories


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Fire captain shares advice on escaping an apartment blaze