Investigators on Friday continued to look for the cause of a blaze that destroyed three abandoned homes in west-central Salt Lake City.
However, transients reported to be squatting in the buildings prior to the Thursday afternoon, two-alarm fire at 950 S. 400 West, were strongly suspected.
“They are looking into reports that transients were seen in the area at the time of the fire,” said Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Jasen Asay.
The city-owned buildings, used as recently as April for firefighter training, had been scheduled for demolition in the near future, he said.
“All the utilities had been shut off, there was no electricity, no [natural] gas,” Asay said.
The fire broke out about 3:40 p.m. Thursday. In all, nearly 40 firefighters responded.
Asay said two alarms were called due to concerns over near-triple digit afternoon heat and the presence of tinder-dry grass and weeds, and nearby businesses.
“We wanted to make sure we were rotating our firefighters in and out so they wouldn’t suffer any heat exhaustion,” Asay said.
No injuries were reported, and firefighters had doused the flames within an hour of their arrival.
There was no damage estimate, since the buildings were to be torn down anyway, Asay said.