SALT LAKE CITY – A 4-alarm fire broke out in the Sugar House neighborhood overnight, prompting evacuation orders for hundreds of area residents.
WATCH: Residents of Sugar House apartments must be kept away from homes
The burning building, which was a multi-story apartment complex under construction, is located at 1040 East 2200 South in Salt Lake City. Demolition of the remaining structure will take place on Wednesday evening.
Teams had been on site since shortly after midnight to try to put out the fire.
WATCH: Residents talk to FOX 13 News about what they saw and heard before being evacuated
Evacuees speak to FOX 13 News
Adding to the complexity of fighting the fire, crews were not allowed inside the building for security reasons.
“Strictly because it’s under construction, we can’t get people inside this building,” said Salt Lake City Fire captain Tony Stowe. “It had been burning freely for some time.”
Police and firefighters say there is a possibility the building will collapse, so a ‘collapse zone’ has been set up and people are asked to stay away.
“Most of everything fell inward,” Captain Stowe explained.
Multiple explosions were heard and seen as the fire burned, Stowe said. These explosions may have been caused by propane cylinders and heaters that construction workers were using during the project.
WATCH: Red Cross talks to FOX 13 News about resources in place for evacuees
Red Cross talks to FOX 13 News about resources for evacuees
Stowe said it was still too early to determine the cause of this fire.
An entire building just north of the blaze has been evacuated as crews work to contain the fire from spreading.
An escape shelter was originally set up on the Forest Dale golf course, but is now in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building at 2005 South 900 East.
Firefighters said some units in the Sugarmont and Vue apartments will remain evacuated until the demolition is complete. Residents who need to retrieve their belongings meet with building management and the Salt Lake City Police Department.
“If you are one of the area residents, we ask that you be patient,” Stowe insisted. “It’s going to take a while; we’re addressing the issues they’re having. The crews are working tirelessly to try to get them back to their units.”
Some have already had the chance to return home, at least for a few minutes to collect items.
“I bought some cat stuff, a toothbrush and went to a motel, so this is the first time I’ve been back,” resident Molly Smith explained. “I was able to come in and grab some stuff. I can’t sleep there tonight, but my apartment looked good. so I think we can go back there very soon.
The American Red Cross said about 40 people were using the evacuation center, but many more chose to self-evacuate and stay with family or friends.
Road closures in the Sugar House area will be in place for several hours on Wednesday. Specifically, 900 East between 2100 South and 2200 South will be closed while crews continue to work at the site.
Additionally, Highland Drive is closed between 2100 South and 2200 South.
The Sprague branch of the library will be closed on Wednesday due to smoke.
Residents and community members who observe debris that has landed on their property are urged to exercise caution before handling any items.
Smoke from the fire can be seen throughout Salt Lake City. Authorities are asking residents not to call 911 to report smoke in the area unless they see flames.