Sugar House businesses still can’t open a week after fire

SALT LAKE CITY — Most of the residents who fled their apartments amid the Sugar House fire last week are back in their homes. But, it’s a different situation for several businesses closed by the fire. It’s still not safe for some of them to reopen.

Residents of the two apartment buildings that faced the fire could return home yesterday. But, some of the ground floor businesses in the Vue remain closed because they’re still in the collapse zone if something goes wrong with demolishing the building that burned.

“We had just completed a remodel about a month ago,” said John Lish, who works at Real Advantage Title on the ground floor of the Vue apartments.

“The damage was significant, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” he said.

Business leaders say full recovery after massive Sugar House fire could take a while

His office mainly had water damage from firefighters soaking the building to keep it from burning. Lish said they had two inches of water on the floor in several rooms.

“We’re just drying it out,” Lish explained. “Obviously, no one is in here working. We’ve had to relocate all of our employees that are here.”

Neither he nor most of the other businesses on the ground floor, like Sport Clips, cannot reopen because their doors face demolition.

“They haven’t really said we can open our front door yet,” Lish said.

On Highland Drive, Standard Optical and businesses to the north are back open, but not businesses to the south.

Some Sugar House fire evacuees still not allowed back as demolition continues

Mark DePaul, a resident of the Sugarmont Apartments, evacuated with his girlfriend and his cat after seeing the flames.

“Our blinds were already open, so we could see the orange and red hues blazing from the building,” DePaul recalled. His apartment was not damaged.

Firefighters said there were broken windows and damage to units in the Vue, but those we spoke with at Sugarmont did not have a lot of damage.

“Everything’s fine. Everything’s fine,” said Antonio Franco, who lives in an apartment facing the fire. “Smells like smoke a little bit.”

After evacuating in the middle of the night five days ago, Franco was surprised the smell of smoke was the only problem.

“We’re just happy to get on with our lives right now,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation as federal, local, and insurance investigators are looking for the cause.