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Fire destroys 25,000-square-foot Holladay home

HOLLADAY — A large Holladay home was ravaged in a blaze late Saturday, firefighters said.

Crews were called to 6085 S. Tolcate Woods Lane (2930 East) at 8:20 p.m. where the fire had started in the basement, Unified Fire Authority officials said. By late Sunday evening, they continued working to put out hot spots.

When firefighters arrived, they saw smoke coming from the attic and initially went into the house to battle the fire. They were pulled out because of the fire spreading from the basement. The risk of firefighters falling through the floors was heightened, Unified fire spokesman Matthew McFarland said.

The home's two residents weren't there when the fire broke out, he said.

The home was 25,000 square feet in size and the fire eventually spread to all four floors of the structure.

Fighting the fire presented unique challenges as reaching the home — which has a gated driveway and sits in a secluded area — was difficult. The water system's infrastructure in the area was also "old," McFarland said.

He said it's rare for firefighters to see a fire in that large of a home, let alone a commercial building, in their entire careers. The plan for fighting it resembled how crews would battle a blaze in a commercial building.

"It’s a large house and it’s falling apart, so we pulled our firefighters out of the structure and are fighting it defensively," Unified fire spokesman Ryan Love said early Sunday.

With more than 80 firefighters working, the flames were mostly extinguished at 1:18 a.m. but by then had destroyed all but the house's garage, which crews were able to preserve, firefighters said.

Crews continued to fight hot spots into late Sunday afternoon. As smoke continued billowing from the home, spectators parked on nearby I-215 to watch firefighters work, McFarland said.

Fire officials said Sunday afternoon they had no estimate for when the work would end, but they planned to stay on scene "24/7 until it's resolved."

Crews were fighting the hot spots Sunday from the outside because they couldn't go inside "without risking lives," McFarland said

"It’s just going to keep smoking until we can get more and more water into those nooks and crannies," he said.

From the outside, the home appeared fairly intact because McFarland said the exterior structure was made of strong materials.

But the inside was a different story.

Firefighters don't expect to have an estimate on the cost of damages until it becomes safe to enter the building and see if the owners can rebuild the original structure. The owners likely lost valuable belongings as well, McFarland said.

He called the fact that crews had to fight the blaze from the outside a "frustrating situation." The homeowners who were there watching the work were "distraught," he said, and crews wanted to save "every bit of property that they can."

No one was injured in the fire.

The cause of the blaze remained under investigation.