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Salt Lake fire destroys building, causes evacuations, road closure

SALT LAKE CITY — A two-alarm fire engulfed an abandoned building Wednesday afternoon on Main Street, causing evacuations of nearby homes and businesses.

The blaze was reported around 12:30 p.m. at 1500 S. Main, according to the Salt Lake City Fire Department. The street was closed between 1300 South and 1600 South, and all nearby buildings southeast of the fire were evacuated because of the direction of the smoke was blowing.

Between 30 and 35 firefighters reportedly battled the blaze in defensive mode shortly after arriving to find heavy flames coming from the building. A passerby told crews there may be a meth lab inside, prompting caution about going inside because of the potential for dangerous fumes, said Salt Lake fire spokesman Jasen Asay.

"The fire was burning pretty good as it was, (and) there was a possibility of the building collapsing," Asay said. "At the time, it was just the best thing to fight the fire from the outside."

Fire officials found no evidence of a meth lab in the building, Asay said, but it was clear transients had been using the building recently. The fire department conferred with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which said a meth lab there was shut down about 10 years ago.

Asay didn't know Wednesday whether anyone was in the building when the fire started. Nobody was inside when firefighters arrived, he said.

The building is considered a total loss. Investigators are still determining what caused the fire, Asay said. Nobody was injured in the fire.


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