Victim of downtown SLC apartment fire feels lucky to be alive

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SALT LAKE CITY – A fire at an apartment complex in downtown Salt Lake City Memorial Day killed one person and sent two others to the hospital.

One of the injured was Eli Bendoski.

Bendoski had lived in his apartment on the third floor of the Silverado Apartments for three years.

He said he woke up to a loud noise that morning, stepped out onto his balcony and saw his apartment complex was on fire.

READ: Cause of Salt Lake City apartment fire released

“I believe I put on sandals and looked out the front door into the hallway, and there was just black smoke. You couldn’t see anything,” Bendoski said.

Bendoski told FOX 13 News on Monday that he could see smoke rising from the floor as he descended the stairs and found his friend face down.

“I picked him up and had to open the door and get him out,” he said. “Someone came to help me, and there were flames right next to the front door.”

He says his friend was burned and taken to hospital. Bendoski was also badly burned in the fire.

“Second degree burns on my hands,” he said. “I didn’t realize my face was very burned, and my nose was burned, and my eyes.”

Bendoski said he’s even struggled with his eyesight at times since all of this happened.

He said he lost almost everything in the fire. He restores historic windows for a living and cannot work at the moment due to his hand injuries.

After this fire, Bendoski says he feels lucky to be alive.

“I remember hesitating before I left, saying, ‘Should I take any valuables?’ But I was like, ‘No, that’s probably a very reckless decision at this point,’ you know?” he said. “And I think if I had made that decision, I could have been more badly burned or even not have done it.”

Bendoski’s brother launched a GoFundMe to help him get back on his feet after the fire.

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