Flames ripped through the home of South Salt Lake Mayor Wes Losser Saturday night, gutting the second floor of the two-story residence.
The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but South Salt Lake Fire Chief Steve Foote said it appears the fire started in an upstairs bedroom. An electrical problem is believed to have started the fire, Foote said.
Damage was estimated at more than $100,000, and the entire second floor will likely have to be rebuilt, Foote said. The main floor sustained heavy smoke and water damage.
"It's very disheartening when your boss' house catches on fire and you're the fire chief," Foote said. "You feel bad for him and for his family."
The Losser residence is near I-80, and several passing motorists called authorities after seeing smoke rising from the house, Foote said. Fire officials received the first call at 5:44 p.m.
"There was a pretty healthy column of smoke," Foote said.
It took some 45 firefighters more than 1 1/2 hours to control the blaze, Foote said. Fire crews sifted through the burning embers, and the blaze wasn't declared officially out until 9:32 p.m., Foote said.
"It was a very difficult fire to fight," Foote said. "It's much like playing a cat-and-mouse game. It's hard to chase it down once it gets in the attic area."
Firefighters had to cut holes in the roof to battle the blaze.
The mayor and his family were at a community function when the fire started, and a neighbor let the family's pets out of the house, Foote said.
Losser and his family own the house next door on the west of their residence, and were expected to spend the night there, Foote said.
No one was injured in the blaze.