ST. GEORGE – Multiple fire crews responded to a call at the Desert Rose Apartments Monday afternoon after a balcony on the second floor of a multi-unit building caught fire.
At 12:29 p.m., the St. George Fire Department responded to a fire call at the Desert Rose Apartments, 2929 E. 450 North in St. George.
St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker described the building as a six-unit complex, two units on the top and four units on the bottom. He said witnesses told firefighters the fire started on the balcony of one of the second floor units, and then spread into the living room.
Alexis Barrett, a neighboring resident, said she heard a “big bang” outside. She looked outside and saw flames coming out of the windows of one of the apartments, followed by a second louder explosion and more flames.
“There were big flames for a little apartment,” Barrett said.
Stoker said the “explosions” were likely aerosol cans left on the balcony that exploded when the fire got to them.
“It sounded like a shotgun blast,” said Cameron Condie, another Desert Rose resident.
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Condie was among the first witnesses to notice the flames and had his wife contact 911. He said that he and his wife were in the car about to leave the parking lot when, “I happened to turn my head and see flames on the balcony.”
Condie then found one of the apartment’s maintenance workers and the two of them banged on doors to get people out. They were able to get the bottom level evacuated by the time the fire department arrived.
“You could see smoke coming out of every crevasse of the building,” Condie said.
Fire crews made a second sweep in case anyone was missed. There was a concern that a 16-year-old boy was still in one of the apartments, Stoker said, but fortunately no one was found.
For their part, Stoker praised Condie and the maintenance worker’s actions. “They did a great job of getting everyone out,” he said.
Due to concerns that the fire could spread to a second building, a neighboring six-unit complex was also evacuated.
Firefighters were able to contain the fire, though Stoker reported that there was “heavy damage to the (balcony and) living room.” There was also heavy smoke and water damage to the area that affected the apartment below.
Water and power was shut off to the complex and Stoker said it wasn’t likely anyone would be staying in the building tonight. For anyone who couldn’t make arrangements for the night, he said the fire department would contact the Red Cross for temporary aid.
No injuries were reported in connection with the fire and none of the neighboring buildings were harmed.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
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