Ogden apartment fire sparks yet another tragedy for one family

Published: Sunday, Jan. 9 2011 5:21 p.m. MST

OGDEN — At least three families are homeless after a fire ripped through their apartment building early Sunday morning.

The tenants of three separate units, which included six adults and three children, made it out of the building safely, but when the sun came out, they saw they had little left, according to local Red Cross representative Laina Roundy.

The fire began sometime after 2 a.m. Sunday, completely destroying two units located on the 300 block of 28th Street.

"Everything they have is in there — their clothes, their toys, everything," apartment resident Dustin Ellsworth said. The apartment he shared with his wife and two small children, along with everything in it, was charred.

"It's just hard," he said.

Investigators believe the fire, which caused $250,000 in damages, was sparked by an electrical problem in the attic of one of the units.

Ellsworth said his wife had heard something outside and woke him up.

"I came out here and this whole top part was engulfed in flames," he said. "I went back inside, got my kids, wrapped them in a blanket, got her out and got out."

The family had lived in the apartment for about four months. They were just getting back on their feet after they were both laid off from their jobs around Christmastime.

Another family in West Jordan was also without a home after fire destroyed it Sunday morning. Eleven people, including an infant, were unharmed but reeling from their losses after an unknown cause burned their home, located near 1300 West and 7200 South.

In the wake of the tragedies, friends and neighbors are pitching in to help.

Ellsworth said that with the fire, he'll just have to rebuild their lives from the ground up.

"I was hoping it wouldn't be as bad as it is," he said. "I was actually hoping we could have saved some things, but it doesn't look like we're going to be able to, so I'll just take what's left and try to start over I guess."

The Red Cross is providing the displaced residents with food, clothing and hotel rooms for the next few days. Others interested in helping those affected can e-mail Sharlain Morse, Ellsworth's grandmother, at sharlain.morse@comcast.net.

e-mail: wleonard@desnews.com; aforester@desnews.com

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