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Wiring blamed in South Salt Lake fire

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Cleanup is under way at Mayor Wes Losser's house, where fire caused $200,000 in damage to the structure and its contents.

Firefighters Sunday determined the fire was sparked when an outlet shorted. "Wiring in the wall had become strained over time. Then it shorted," South Salt Lake Fire Chief Steve Foote said.

The fire started Saturday sometime between 5:30 p.m., when the last member of the Losser family left the residence, near 300 East and 2400 South, and 5:44 p.m., when a neighbor first called 911, Foote said.

The house is about 40 years old. Losser, a contractor before he became mayor, was remodeling it room by room with the blessing of a building permit granted by the city, Foote said.

The entire electrical work had not been inspected because the remodeling project was not complete. However, the electrical panel had passed inspection. Foote did not know whether Losser performed the electrical work himself or hired an electrician.

The fire is considered an accident, Foote said.

The house's second floor was gutted, Foote said. The first floor received water and smoke damage. The American Red Cross placed the Losser family in a hotel Saturday night, Foote said

Losser owns the house next door and is making arrangements for his family to move in while the other house is being repaired or rebuilt, Foote said. The insurance company will determine whether the house is a loss.