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Overnight Ogden fire
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Frightening night of fire for businesses, residents in Ogden neighborhood

Image from a four alarm fire at 2800 Grant Avenue in Ogden, Utah. Photo credit: Mary Richards

OGDEN, Utah — A fire destroyed five homes and an apartment structure under construction Tuesday morning at 28th Street and Grant Avenue in Ogden. But it was the heat from the fire that damaged nearby businesses.

Dana Gallegos lives a couple of houses down from the apartment, but, luckily for her, she wasn’t home when everything started burning.  She cried as she saw the brick pillars around the home were still standing, but that nothing else was salvageable. 

(Dana Gallegos and Joseph Romero standing in front of their home after it was destroyed. Photo: Paul Nelson)

“All my belongings are in there.  They’re gone.  I can’t get them and I can’t replace them,” she said.  “There’s no way I’m going to be able to replace them.”

Joseph Romero was inside the house when the fire started, and he’s just thankful he was alert enough to get out.

“I thank God I wasn’t sleeping and the house caught on fire,” he said.

Steve Lunt owns an auto-body repair shop that is heavily damaged.

“The windows and door are gone. The roof is actually missing up top,” Lunt told KSL NewsRadio. “They’re going to try and seal it up the best they can. I’m just waiting for them to show up.”

“The building across the street is a rental car dealership, and they had a bunch of damage to their cars, with them being melted,” Lunt said.  

The building behind his was also heat damaged. 

Initial damage estimates were placed at $3 million.

The heat from the fire was so intense that it initially kept firefighters from approaching the blaze.

“We had two firetrucks, two ladder trucks that had set up to try and put the apartment complex fire out, and they had to actually back up. One backed east, one backed west because the radiant heat was melting their fire apparatus,” Ogden Fire Deputy Chief Shelby Willis told reporters.

The fire destroyed an entire apartment complex under construction, five homes, three businesses and multiple cars.

(Aftermath of the apartment complex in Ogden. Photo: Paul Nelson)

Fire investigators interviewed a woman who they considered a “person of interest,” but they have released her, saying they don’t have any reason to believe she’s connected to the fire.  Ogden City Fire Marshal Kevin Brown said it’s too soon to know the exact cause, but arson dogs were brought to the scene to find a possible source.

“The dog will be able to point to if there were any accelerants in there,” Brown said.

The Ogden Police Department and the ATF have been brought in to assist in the investigation.  Brown says even if the dogs find accelerants, it may be tricky determining if the fire was intentional or accidental.

“We would have to weigh that out and look for patterns on the floor, potentially, or how intense the fire started and in what area.  That all has to be weighed out and determined,” Brown said.

Contributing: Simone Seikaly