Police detain possible person of interest in downtown Salt Lake City fire

A man discovered at the scene of a suspicious fire near downtown Salt Lake City is taken into custody for questioning. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 6, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City police are questioning a possible person of interest surrounding a suspicious fire near downtown Salt Lake City Wednesday night.

Firefighters were dispatched to the area of 500 E. 600 South on the report of smoke reported by a passerby about 9:30 p.m.

“We had that brick building behind us that had some fairly significant smoke coming out of the top floor,” Captain Mark Hafen, Salt Lake Fire Department, said at the scene. “It looked like the attic area on the north side of the building.”

The building was boarded up, Hafen said.

“We had to go through a boarded area. Access wasn’t too difficult. We just had to break through the boarded up door and go up the stairs.”

Hafen said the only difficulty was “navigating” through the debris — mostly trash and furniture that had been left behind, he said.

“It was so smoky when we got up there, we just had a hard time seeing, so we just kind of worked our way down to where the head was,” Hafen said.

“We found a little bit of fire in the back bedroom that we were able to put out fairly quickly, that extended up into the attic a little bit.”

Crews searched the building and a found a lone man on the premises. He was handcuffed and then taken intt custody for questioning. Fire officials on scene characterized him as a possible person of interest, but stopped short of calling him a suspect.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A man discovered at the scene of a suspicious fire near downtown Salt Lake City is taken into custody for questioning. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

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