Residents of a central Salt Lake neighborhood were awakened by spiraling flames and curling smoke early Friday as a fire ravaged a storage shed, threatening an apartment building and a duplex.
There were no injuries.Fire investigators remained at the burned-out building early Friday morning, searching for clues to the fire's origin. Salt Lake County sheriff's officers brought in a trained dog to determine if gasoline was used to start the blaze.
The first 911 call was recorded at 12:17 a.m. with the first firefighting units arriving at the scene, 720 S. 300 East., two minutes later, according to Salt Lake fire Capt. Dan Andrus.
"The storage shed in the rear was fully engulfed in flames when the first units arrived," Andrus said. "The big job was keeping the fire from spreading to the duplex to the east and the apartment to the north."
The fire, still under investigation, caused an estimated $10,000 damage - "mostly lumber and building material," Andrus said.
"We were able to keep it to one building. Other storage sheds, the apartment and the duplex were in jeopardy. I'm really impressed," he said, calling the fire a tough one to put out.
The building, located next to a large storage warehouse, was the site of an old lumber company that closed decades ago. The adjacent warehouse was filled with lumber, paint and highly flammable material, piled so that the interior was a "maze with 2-foot wide aisles," Andrus said. The fire did not spread to that structure.
The owner of the building that burned, Alan Parsons of Salt Lake City, said he did not know what started the fire but thought it may have been teenagers.
"I've had three break-ins about a year ago," he said. "I think they may have come back. It's the only thing I can think of." He said he doesn't have fire insurance because he's in the process of renovating the buildings. "You can't get (fire) insurance until it's done," he said.
Deon Stevenson, who has lived next door for 38 years, said she was the first to call the fire department.