WEST VALLEY CITY — John Macqueen's parents moved their carpet business to West Valley City in 1968 after their downtown Salt Lake location was damaged in a fire.

Thursday, that longtime family business was destroyed in a three-alarm blaze.

The fire at the Carpet Barn, 3725 S. Redwood Road, began around 11:30 a.m. and spread quickly, sending large plumes of smoke throughout the area. Redwood Road was closed off between 3300 and 3800 South as firefighters battled the blaze.

Everyone in the building was accounted for and there were no injuries, said West Valley Fire Capt. Joe White, who added that the fire was likely aggravated by the presence of glues, solvents and other flammable liquids.

Macqueen, who ran the business with his father, Ken, said an employee apparently sparked the blaze accidentally while using a blowtorch to clear ice off a dock in the rear of the building.

John Macqueen was writing an invoice for a customer in the front of the building when he smelled smoke. Moments later, an employee ran up to him and said the building was on fire.

"I got up and looked and the whole back end was (on fire) up to the roof. It went quick," Macqueen said. He grabbed a fire extinguisher but soon realized there was nothing he could do.

"By the time I got out of there, I couldn't breathe," he said.

Firefighters took a "defensive stance" and attacked the fire from outside because it was too dangerous to enter the building. The business was housed in an older building that had been retrofitted with sprinklers, but White said the sprinkler system was overtaken by the hot fire.

Ken Macqueen sat in a fire department SUV staring at the burning building, too stunned to speak.

Among the grim losses Thursday, John Macqueen said, was their cat Bob, a customer favorite and the company's unofficial mascot.

"It kind of sucks, but there's not much you can do about it," John Macqueen said. "You can cry over spilled milk or you can clean it up. It's tough to see everything go, (but) stuff can be replaced."

e-mail: pkoepp@desnews.com