Thick, white smoke billowed into the dark Salt Lake sky late Monday as firefighters attempted to extinguish a warehouse blaze that is believed to have been intentionally set.
"There was a tremendous amount of smoke and a tremendous amount of flames," said Salt Lake Fire Battalion Chief Gordon Nicholl. "We've had smoke chasing the whole length of the building."Nicholl estimated the damage to the Restaurant & Store Equipment Co. warehouse, 230 W. 700 South, at $150,000, adding, "when you find a couple of windows broke out with two-by-fours and a can of gasoline, you have to suspect it was set deliberately."
Arson officials are continuing to investigate the blaze.
Because of the large clouds of smoke, the fire was originally thought to be burning at the nearby Super 8 Motel.
Darin and Susan Hunsaker, Ogden, were three blocks away when they noticed the smoke just before 11 p.m. and took a closer look. "I couldn't believe how big the flames were. They were really huge!" he said.
Although smoke was billowing out of the attic of the half-block long warehouse, the fire was mostly contained to the northeastern wing of the two-story building, Nicholl said.
Chairs, tables and various restaurant equipment was stacked throughout the warehouse, making it difficult to fight the deep-seated blaze.
"You just have to get inside and pick through the rubble to get to the fire," Nicholl said. "It's difficult to determine the smoke from the flames."
The section of the warehouse that suffered the heaviest damage contained mostly used restaurant equipment, he said.
Firefighters spent several hours at the scene of the two-alarm fire dousing hot spots and cleaning up. No one was injured in the fire.