LINDON — A business and a home are considered complete losses following a massive fire on Wednesday that may take crews a few days to completely extinguish.
The fire was believed to have started in the warehouse area of the Ensign Group, 475 N. State. It was reported at 4:40 a.m. and was not brought under control until hours later. By 10:30 a.m., equipment was brought in to knock down the facade of the structure into the fire before it collapsed onto State Street.
By late Wednesday afternoon., a pile of rubble was all that was left of the structure, but the fire was not completely out, said Lindon Police Chief Cody Cullimore. He expected crews would be using heavy equipment to turn debris over and put out flames and hot spots through the end of the week. A ladder truck was used to hose down the area every 20 minutes.
Because of the damage and efforts to put out the fire, Cullimore said investigators hadn't had the chance to start looking for a possible cause as of Wednesday afternoon.
Damage to the structures and all their contents could reach into the millions of dollars.
The building was formerly known for many years as Patch's Majestic Metals and still has that name on the outside of it. The new company is an export and import company that was stocked full of boxed merchandise in the large warehouse area, Cullimore said.
"We believe it started in the back, but we've had some roof collapses," he said. "Probably a total loss. There's a home just to the north of it which is also a total loss. No one was injured."
The home was attached to the business and had been used as a rental property for years, he said.
Officers were able to safely get three adults and two children out of the house by knocking on their doors.
"As far as I can see, I think everything is probably gone. Even though our building caught fire, I know a lot of the damage is probably water damage," said the home's resident, Marilyn Melamed. "Everything is gone. Looks like the garage is still there, so there might be some stuff in the garage we can salvage. Hopefully we have other things in the home we can salvage."
Robert Patch, who owned Patch's Majestic Metals, said he was sick about the fire.
"We've built stuff for thousands and thousands of homes across the state and helped hundreds and hundreds of boys grow into men," Patch said. "It's just devastating to watch everything go up. … Makes me want to be sick right here in front of everybody."
Patch said the structure was more than just a warehouse where he ran his steel fabrication business for 31 years.
"It's raised families and blessed lives and helped people for many generations," he said.Comment on this story
The 75-year-old building was built well before any of today's modern day fire codes, Cullimore said, and did not have an overhead fire sprinkler system. The front part of the building had wood framing that fueled the fire, he said.
"The whole structure was burning at once," Cullimore said.
Other nearby structures also suffered smoke damage. Smoke from the incident could be smelled over a wide area of Utah County. Residents from the other homes that were evacuated but did not burn were allowed back into their houses Wednesday.
At least three fire departments were called to fight the blaze, including Orem, American Fork and Pleasant Grove. The Red Cross responded to the scene to assist nine residents forced from their homes.