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4 businesses total losses after West Valley fire; firefighter released from hospital

WEST VALLEY CITY – Several West Valley City business owners are working to pick up the pieces after a serious fire broke out Thursday. Fire officials said four businesses were a total loss and another suffered major water damage.

It happened Thursday around 6 p.m. at a shopping center near 4700 South and 4000 West, fire officials said. Two other companies were affected.

West Valley City Fire Chief John Evans estimates the damage to the mall itself is nearly $2 million.

“The roof has fallen on all four businesses,” Evans said. “There’s not much left in there at the moment.”

The fire chief said it took several hours and about 60 firefighters from across the valley to battle the blaze.

“Most of the fire was out. But … when the roof came in, we were up here for a while and just poured water on it, trying to get that out from under the fire,” he said.

Thursday’s warm weather also played a role. “The problem is when it’s 90 degrees and (firefighters) are in that gear, you try to let them rest every now and then just because of the exhaustion and stuff in this kind of weather.”

One of the lost businesses is Vickey’s Peruvian Restaurant. The restaurant’s owner, Victoria Palomino Leon, was close to tears as she saw her business destroyed.

“It’s like a dream,” she said in Spanish. Leon said she and her co-workers saw the smoke but couldn’t tell where it was coming from. Once they saw the fire, everyone inside was able to evacuate safely.

“We thought we could get whatever was left in there; the fire brigade brought us in, but everything is gone,” she said.

Leon said her business has only been open for about two years. “We’ve grown little by little,” she says. But now she and her six other employees are out of work.

She said she will work to move forward and is grateful no one was seriously injured.

One firefighter did suffer a shoulder injury, but Evans said the firefighter was treated and released from the hospital.

“Thankfully the firefighter is going to be OK,” Evans said. “The good thing is that none of the residents of the businesses were injured. They were all outside. That’s the most important thing for those residents.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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