"First we saw it all the way from Midvale so when we came back down over we saw the smoke and we said where is that coming from? That's huge," said one witness at the scene.
Nine engines and four trucks with 60 fire fighters battled the huge 4 alarm blaze appended at 540 E. 500 South. According to a staff report from the Salt Lake City Planing and Zoning Division, the property where the fire started is owned by a group that got approval to build a new subdivision in the area called the Newhouse Apartments.
"Our fire fighters went inside to try and extinguish the fire before it spread and got to big but because the wood is exposed the fire quickly spread," said Salt Lake City Fire spokesman Jasen Asay.
Across the street the Smith's Marketplace and area homes around the building had to be evacuated as flames grew.
"It was shooting about 200 feet up in the air you could see the embers going up in the air," said one man.
The apartments were not occupied and the building was under construction.
"There is a big concern with the crane on the side of the property we didn't want the crane to collapse and fall down. If it did we were worried because we didn't know which way it would collapse," said Asay.
The fire department red flagged the building after an inspection a week and a half ago for not installing a water pipe.
"Once (the building) reaches 40 feet high it needs to have a pipe that goes along the stairway and that's for firefighters to hook into when there are fires up on higher levels," said Asay.
The construction company complied but it didn't help with this fire. Investigators have not discovered what caused the fire.