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Authorities suspect suicide after body found in burning West Valley house

Crews responded to the scene at the 1500 block of Crystal Avenue, according to authorities. The woman died after being trapped in the house.
Crews responded to the scene at the 1500 block of Crystal Avenue, according to authorities. The woman died after being trapped in the house.
Derek Petersen, KSL TV

WEST VALLEY CITY — Investigators are treating the death of a woman found in a burning home Tuesday morning as a suicide.

West Valley Fire Battalion Chief Bob Fitzgerald did not provide additional details about how the woman died but said there are clear signs she took her own life. The woman has not been identified. Fitzgerald said she is in her 70s and lived alone in the home.

Neighbors called 911 about 5 a.m. to report the fire at 1515 Crystal Ave., Fitzgerald said. When crews arrived they saw smoke and flames billowing from the building. Neighbors had informed officials the woman might be inside.

Police who beat firefighters to the scene tried to check inside the home, but heat and smoke from the growing blaze kept them from getting in, Fitzgerald said.

When firefighters arrived and were able to enter from the side of the building, they found the body of the woman in a bathroom, Fitzgerald said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but it appears to have ignited somewhere in the front of the home, Fitzgerald said. Investigators are paying particular attention to the living room and a closet.

"That's where the bulk of the fire was … and so that's where we're concentrating our efforts right now," Fitzgerald said.