SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 29, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) –A Friday night warehouse fire that caused an estimated $50,000 in damage was human caused, according to information from the Salt Lake City Fire Department.
At 9:18 p.m., crews were dispatched to the fire, at 350 West and 700 South. They arrived within three minutes, Assistant Chief of Operations Karl Steadman said. The first units on the scene could see smoke but had a hard time locating the fire itself.
“Access was difficult. We actually laid lines down an alley to get to it,” Steadman told Gephardt Daily. “We had to force some gates and fences just to gain access.”
Another problem was the intense heat and smoke inside the building. Crews had to start ventilating the structure to clear the smoke before they could go in.
Steadman said firefighters were on scene for about 30 to 40 minutes before the fire was under control. At that point, they went into what Steadman called “the overhaul stage, to make sure the fire is completely out.”
A second alarm was called just to bring in more manpower to relieve the first group of firefighters after their determined effort to get the blaze under control.
The warehouse was empty at the time of the blaze, and there were no injuries to firefighters or civilians. Heat damage to the structure was estimated at $50,000.
The Salt Lake City Fire Department released a statement Saturday morning saying that investigators determined that the building had been abandoned for several years. All utilities (power and gas) had been previously disconnected.
Investigators found evidence of persons experiencing homelessness illegally occupying the warehouse. They determined the fire was human caused, however the exact origin and cause is still under investigation.