Abandoned structure fire threatens shelter animals – again, Utah Humane Society calls on Murray City to take action

Murray Fire, May 14, 2020. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

MURRAY, Utah, May 15, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Humane Society is calling on Murray City to take action after a two-alarm fire in a nearby abandoned building Thursday night not only threatened the shelter, but the lives of the animals inside.

Rachel Heatley, Utah Humane Society advocacy director, said she has made multiple attempts to contact the property owner and Murray City to resolve the organization’s concerns.

“The abandoned structures are a great concern for all of us who work at the Humane Society of Utah,” Heatley said in a released statement. “It is a magnet for illegal activity, transients and stray animals.

“It has caught on fire numerous times over the last few years and we are absolutely terrified that the fire will one day spread to our shelter, endangering our employees and the animals in our care.”

Besides the fire on Thursday night, firefighters have responded to the same building on Jan. 18, 2020, Dec. 20, 2019, and June 16, 2018.

Heatley said that teenagers and adults use the shelter’s parking lot to access the building, “essentially trespassing on our land. Often times, they cut holes in the fence that separates our property from that property to gain access.”

Humane Society staff members and volunteers have found drug paraphernalia on the shelter’s property,” Heatley said in her statement.

“When employees work late at night, they have been disturbed by random people who live or hang out in the building wandering our parking lot, peering into our windows, etc.,” she said.

Murray City firefighters were dispatched just before 9 p.m. Thursday, and responded to the latest blaze, 4200 S. 300 West, near the the shelter. They were assisted by 26 crew members from nearby agencies, including Unified Fire Authority and South Salt Lake Fire.

Heatley quoted an article by Gephardt Daily, posted after the Dec. 20 fire, for which Murray Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Mittelman was interviewed.

“We’ve been here multiple times on different fires in the past four to five years at least,” said Mittelman in the Dec. 21, 2019 article.

“The structure in the back is the old soccer stadium. It burned really bad in 2017. This structure (the Fountain of Youth building) is very dangerous, and there are great drops inside — 20 to 30 feet. We’d really like to see this structure demolished.”

A permanent solution is what the Humane Society wants as well, Heatley’s statement says.

“For the safety of our employees and the animals we care for, we really need help in mitigating this problem.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here