Last night at 3:41 a.m. John was awakened by a strange sound. He thought it was rain, and worried about all of the boxes of donations I’d unloaded in our driveway from our evening DfG event, he went to the window to check the weather. Strangely, our bedroom had a red glow at the windows. He wondered why the Christmas lights were on when he’d taken them down weeks ago. Opening the blinds, he saw the FIRE. “Ann, the field is on fire!” he yelled to me.” I woke, and ran to the window. Behind the field directly across the street, a brand new 4-story apartment building was engulfed in flames that flew high into the sky. As John called 911, we heard sirens and fire trucks approaching.
It was breath-taking and horrifying. We ran downstairs and out into the back yard (I with an African apron on to cover myself a bit). The heat in the back yard was incredible. The flames were loud and huge. The sky was filled with embers falling all around us. I feared for our shake shingle roof. Hot burning coals fell at our feet. We stood, speechless.
After several moments, I went back upstairs to pull on some pants and grab shoes and a jacket, and we went out to Main Street to watch. Neighbors came running, fearing it was our house on fire. We stood with friends in bathrobes, blankets, and some barefoot, watching the apartment building burn to the ground. The electrical power poles exploded. Our electricity went off. The sounds were deafening. It was eerie and surreal. We stood together and watched the destruction.
By about 4:00 we came back in. Fire trucks still surrounded the site, spraying water into the embers. Only the elevator shaft was left standing. The road was blocked and in the middle of this night, many cars drove slowly past, as onlookers watched. What waste! What hellish destruction!
The news this morning said they suspect it was arson. A police car parked on the street a block or so west of us was set on fire about 10-15 minutes before the apartment building was caught up in the blaze. Maybe a distraction?
What an interesting way to spend the night.
Here’s a photo from a couple of weeks ago as the building was going up:
OREM, Utah – Officials said they are now investigating the two Orem fires as cases of arson. Crews were called about a blaze at an apartment construction site near 420 S. State St. at about 3:30 a.m.
Firefighters said they could see the inferno from the point of the mountain.
Authorities said the flames have caused well over $1 million in damages; the building is a total loss and will be torn down.
Orem fire crews were previously called about an off-duty Provo police officer’s cruiser that was torched outside his home not too far from the construction site and saw the flames.
Rocky Mountain Power said power has been restored for the more than 5,000 residents who were without after the fire.
No one was injured in either incident.
6 February 2015
I went over to the destruction site today and found the framing contractor there, sitting on the tail gate of his pick-up truck, shaking his head and talking to his insurance lady on the phone. His $70,000 forklift was toast. The work his crew of 15 had spent weeks on was gone. He showed me $30,000 of melted windows he would have installed today. What a waste. They’re pretty sure it was arson. This happened to another building in Orem last month. Both had smaller fire diversions just before the buildings were set on fire. Unbelievable. So much energy spent with nothing to show for it. It’s sickening.