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Fire destroys cabin in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Fire destroyed a cabin in Big Cottonwood Canyon late Saturday night. The first responding crews were unable to get to the burning cabin because of snowpacked roads.
Fire destroyed a cabin in Big Cottonwood Canyon late Saturday night. The first responding crews were unable to get to the burning cabin because of snowpacked roads.
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BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON — Fire destroyed a cabin here late Saturday night.

Unified Fire Authority spokesman Dave Ulibarri said firefighters received the call about 10 p.m. and arrived at the turnoff to the cabin from the main road in just 15 minutes. But they quickly discovered that their fire engine wasn't able to go any further.

"The road into the development was iced and snowpacked and our fire engine couldn't make it up the grade even with chains," he said. "The winter conditions were a huge factor in our ability to get to the fire."

The snowpacked road leading to the burning cabin was approximately two miles from the main road, Ulibarri said. The cabin was located close to the Spruces Campground.

Specialized four-wheel drive vehicles were called to the scene. By the time they arrived and got to the fire, an hour had passed, he said.

Two adults who were in the cabin at the time were able to escape safely. The cabin was recently purchased and had had some renovations, Ulibarri. The cabin owner reported the fire shortly after starting a fire in the fire place.

"The home owner had started a fire in the fire place, said he heard some crackling in the walls. Put the fire out. Still heard it. Started to smell smoke. Smoke started filling the cabin. They evacuated. Then flames started coming through the eves," Ulibarri said.

He said it was not snowing at the time of the fire, but the temperature was about 6 degrees. Damage to the cabin was estimated to be about $250,000. It is considered a total loss, Ulibarri said. Investigators were expected to return to the scene Sunday to shuffle through the rubble in an attempt to determine a cause.

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