Seventy-five motel customers were evacuated early Wednesday after a man set his room on fire while creating an illegal drug lab.
The man, 33, suffered second- and third-degree burns as fire and thick white smoke filled his room shortly after midnight at the Days Inn, 315 W. 3300 South. He remained at University Hospital Wednesday."You couldn't see a foot in front of your face," said Robert Sanda-vall, Phoenix, who is staying at the motel. Sandavall said the smoke was "super white" and there was no flame but an orange glow.
Sandavall's friend said he experienced a burning sensation as he went toward the room although he couldn't see inside.
The man ran out of the room and occupants of the building were quickly evacuated. Two female employees of the inn were taken to a hospital to be evaluated for smoke inhalation, said Salt Lake County Fire Capt. Lowell Mikolash.
As part of a makeshift drug lab, the man was using red phosphorous to generate heat very quickly and when the material blew up, it splattered onto the walls and carpet, said Capt. Stuart Smith of the state Department of Public Safety's Division of Investigations.
Most of the entire room was damaged. The sheetrock and carpet required removal.