CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Abandoned home catches fire, poses danger to firefighters

Aug 6, 2023, 9:11 AM | Updated: 11:21 am

SALT LAKE CITY -- An home abandoned for 15 years caught fire overnight. Chief Dan Walker with Salt ...

A fire truck ladder extended in the air with a hose shooting at the abandoned house on fire. (Sloan Schrage/KSL TV)

(Sloan Schrage/KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — An home abandoned for 15 years caught fire overnight.

Chief Dan Walker with Salt Lake City Fire said they got a call around 10:30 p.m. Saturday about a structure fire at 664 East 300 South. When crews arrived, they found flames burning through the roof. 

Walker said fire crews set up a defensive attack and had the flames controlled in 45 minutes with no civilian or firefighter injuries.

Walker said they suspect a nearby power line played a role in the fire.
 
“We don’t know until after the investigation is over,” he said. “It was an active line that was across the fence. And it was sparking.”
 
Because the house was abandoned, the firefighters sent a crew to make sure no one was endangered inside before fighting the flames outside.
 
“It’s not worth it to us to put crews and lives inside an abandoned structure,” Walker explained. “Because they’re just so dangerous. Holes in the floors, easily collapsed rooms, things like that.”
 
Abandoned houses like this one pose a special danger to firefighters because of the likelihood of collapse. Walker said the fire department is working with the city to address this issue.
 
“The mayor’s office is working well with us, as well as a Building and Housing Committee,” he said. “We’re able to get a lot of these structures taken down quickly, especially after a fire.” 
 
Walker added that one of their main concerns is someone entering an abandoned house and starting a fire from within. 
 
“We try to get an all-clear when we can…. cruise around and they’ll go through and look through every window and door that they’re able to,” he said. “That would be the only reason we would send someone inside is that they can actually see somebody in this type of structure.”
 
There are a lot of abandoned homes in the Salt Lake area, so Walker said they keep an eye on them to make sure they aren’t in danger of collapsing. He said he doesn’t know if the house that caught fire Saturday night will be knocked down or rebuilt. 
 

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Abandoned home catches fire, poses danger to firefighters