Early this morning Orem firefighters were leaving the scene of a fire in a parked Provo police car when they noticed a blaze at the Sun Canyon Villas construction project, which is just south of Midtown 360 between State Street and Orem Boulevard.
According to the city, the suspicious fire started around 3:15 a.m. on the first floor and spread to the rest of the building within one to two minutes. No one was injured.
Damage is estimated at more than $1 million and the building is a total loss, said Orem battalion chief Ryan Peterson.
He said fire investigators are on scene now to determine whether the fire was arson. The vehicle fire has been ruled arson.
Orem Boulevard will be closed from 400 South to 800 South for most of the day. The fire also caused a power outage, and Rocky Mountain Power is working to restore power to the area but it will take until this afternoon to get electricity back on.
This is the second large apartment project to be set on fire in Orem. In December, apartments under construction at 900 North State St. were set on fire in the middle of the night, causing about $1 million in damage. No one was injured in that fire.
The contractor on the Sun Canyon Villas project set up extra security after that fire, according to the city. Peterson said the on-site security was not in place at the time of the fire this morning.
“This is terribly tragic for our community. We are grateful no one is hurt. We do have access to a video and will be posting it as soon as we get it,” city officials said in a statement.
If you have any information about the fire or saw anyone in the area at the time of the fire, call Orem police at (801) 229-7070.