An arson task force Saturday continued to investigate a suspicious South Salt Lake blaze that gutted a vacant tavern Friday afternoon.
It took firefighters nearly an hour to douse the blaze at the former Spring Deer Lounge, 360 E. 3300 South, Friday afternoon. Smoke entered an adjacent business, Economy Builders Supply, but firefighters from South Salt Lake and Salt Lake County were able to prevent flames from reaching the lumber supply store.The vacant building was used by transients and kids often played in there, said South Salt Lake Police Sgt. Mark Ferraro. Witnesses told police they saw a juvenile run out of the building just before the blaze broke out.
Firefighters also had a difficult time fighting a Salt Lake City fire that left an estimated $20,000 worth of damage to the structure and contents of a home Friday night.
When firefighters arrived at 849 S. Park Street (540 East) about 5:30 p.m., they found the second level fully engulfed in flames, said Salt Lake Battalion Chief Gordon Nicholl.
"Three little kids, in or around the house, were able to get out by themselves," he said. The parents of the unattended children had left the home to attend a wedding.
Nicholl said the blaze was "extremely difficult" for firefighters to control because the second floor of the home was made up of many small "cubby holes."
"You turn a corner looking for the fire and run into a wall," he said. "They're tough ones to fight."
At times the only way firefighters were able to locate the blaze was to "sit and wait and watch for smoke," Nicholl said. The fire was under control by 5:51 p.m. The cause of the fire is under investigation.