Orem has Million Dollar Mall Fire
Fire at University Mall causes massive smoke damage
Joe Pyrah - Daily Herald
A small fire caused big damage late Wednesday night at the University Mall.
The fire, caused by a welder putting together pieces of a children's play area, was relatively small and put out quickly. But the smoke damage is believed to be extensive and cost as much as $1.2 million.
On Thursday, the mall was business as usual except for a strong smoke smell on the Mervyn's end where the play area is being constructed. A scar on the wall is clearly visible where the fire started.
The blaze was sparked around 11 p.m. when the mall was all but empty. No one was taken to the hospital.
A welder was attempting to weld the metal frame of the tree to a structural beam in the mall when the polyurethane-type material inside the tree itself caught fire. Workers on the scene tried unsuccessfully to put out the fire with extinguishers. The burning material produced massive amounts of dark smoke, setting off the fire alarm. As the fire grew, it set off ceiling sprinklers inside the mall.
When emergency units arrived, they saw light smoke all the way out to State Street. As they got closer, the smoke was heavy coming from the northeast end of the mall near Mervyn's.
Between the sprinklers and responding fire crews, the fire was knocked down before doing much damage by fire.
University Mall officials estimate the damage will cost $1.2 million.