SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A Christmas morning fire apparently started by a cigarette tossed into a trashcan displaced about eight people from their apartments inside a building at 163 South 600 East in Salt Lake City.
“My room is just a pile of ash right now so it’s pretty bad,” said Erica Herrera who is displaced by the fire.
The fire erupted around 12:30 a.m. Herrera was asleep moments before the flames would destroy the bed she was sleeping in.
“I just heard a lot of banging noises and I thought what’s going on,” Herrera said.
The lights went out. She looked out her window and saw large flames.
“I was running around trying to get my stuff and then I could see like the flames from my room and so that’s when I just ran out the front,” Herrera continued.
She ran into the dark freezing night with nothing in her arms. Her feet bare on the cold concrete. Fire crews responded in about three minutes quickly getting the fire under control.
Meanwhile, Herrera’s roommate Gina Barker who was at her parents’ home rushed to the burning building. The destruction was more than she had anticipated.
“The back kitchen is gone. There was a porch, that’s also gone. We have a back storage room where of my roommates kept all of her pictures and stuff like that that looks pretty gone,” Barker said.
Despite the destruction Barker’s things are safe other than a little smoke damage. She credits her good fortune to a quick emergency response from fire crews.
“It’s just kind of surreal. Like I’m not super upset because everyone was OK and my stuff didn’t burn,” Barker said.
Herrera says none of the renters had insurance. The Red Cross is trying to ensure all of the displaced renters have a safe warm place to sleep at night. Contact the Red Cross of Salt Lake City if you know a person or family displaced by a fire.