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Sandy house fire kills 2 men

Another man hurt; accidental blaze is under investigation

House fire near 1700 E. 9500 South in Sandy began in the basement.
House fire near 1700 E. 9500 South in Sandy began in the basement.
August Miller, Deseret Morning News

An early morning blaze at a Sandy home claimed the lives of two men and sent another to the hospital in fair condition.

The two men who died, Carter Bailey, 29, and Damien Hunsaker, 21, apparently were staying in the basement. The man who survived was upstairs.

"The fire marshal has determined the cause to be accidental," said Sandy Deputy Fire Chief Mike Veenendaal. "The fire occurred in a bed and bedding material in the basement where the victims were located. What lit it is undetermined because it burned. It was possibly cigarettes, but we're not sure."

Veenendaal said the single-family home, near 1700 E. 9500 South, sustained extensive smoke damage, and there was considerable fire damage in the basement.

The call came in at 4:55 a.m. and Sandy fire crews were immediately dispatched. Veenendaal said Bailey and Hunsaker were dead at the scene, and the state medical examiner's office was contacted. The man who was upstairs escaped the burning home on his own. His name was not immediately released.

"We're not sure who called it in — maybe a neighbor, or the individual who got out may have gone to a neighbor's home, and that's how the call came in," he said.

Sandy dispatched a truck company and four engine companies; there also was an ambulance and a second battalion chief from the Unified Fire Authority who assisted. In all, about 20 people were working at the location.

Fire crews extinguished the blaze fairly quickly.

"The firefighters did an excellent job," Veenendaal said. "They made an immediate knockdown, but it had been going for a period of time."

Knowing that people were inside the house was troubling for firefighters.

"That makes their job a little more intense," Veenendaal said.

The surviving man was taken to Alta View Hospital and was listed in fair condition, he said.