$2M smoke, water damage tab for Lehi Costco blaze
Warehouse • Sprinklers douse flames before fire crews arrive.

By Bob Mims

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: January 3, 2013 10:35AM
Updated: May 5, 2013 11:32PM

The fire suppression system worked, extinguishing the flames as designed. It was smoke and water from the sprinkler system, though, that left the Lehi Costco warehouse with an estimated $2 million in damages.

Lehi Fire Battalion Chief Rick Howard said that the fire itself burned a display of electric heaters on four wooden pallets, but by the time firefighters arrived about 10 p.m. Tuesday, the flames had been extinguished at the 200 N. 1200 East address.

“The smoke went completely through the building and got into all the food and produce they had out, along with bedding, rugs, clothes and other products,” Howard said Thursday. “Then there was the water damage.”

While the cause of the fire remained under investigation, it is suspected that an electrical heater left on as part of the display may have ignited the flames.

“No one was in the building at the time,” Howard said.

Firefighters had been called out to a “flow alarm” related to the warehouse’s sprinkler system about the same time a year ago. Then, a broken sprinkler head was indeed the problem.

“[Tuesday night] was very cold and it was [again] a flow alarm so we thought maybe it was another broken sprinkler head. But when the crew arrived and opened the door, they immediately came in contact with the smoke,” Howard said.

Firefighters used large fans to clear the warehouse of smoke.

As of Thursday, the warehouse remained closed to the public.

remims@sltrib.com