A Tuesday afternoon grass fire in a Salt Lake City salvage yard may have been started by a homeless person, according to the owner.
The fire, which began at about 1 p.m. at 1052 S. Redwood Road, was contained about an hour and a half later.
Miguel Alpizar, who owns Pyramid Auto Sales, as well as the adjacent field that burned, said homeless people are a perennial problem in the field.
Alpizar told a Tribune reporter that he called police Monday night about the homeless campers. He said officers came but did nothing about the campers.
Then, on Tuesday, as fire crews were arriving, Alpizar said he saw a homeless woman riding away on a bicycle. Alpizar also told his story to fire investigators on Tuesday. Fire officials said the cause of the blaze was under investigation.
This was not the first time Alpizar called authorities about transients on his property. He also called police on May 24, but a police report was not written for that day, according to detective Rick Wall of the Salt Lake Police Department. Wall also said he had no record of Alpizar calling police Monday night.
Alpizar said that about 20 vehicles, mainly trucks that he intended to sell, were destroyed by flames.
He had no immediate damage estimate, but said: "It's a pretty big loss for me."
Salt Lake City Fire spokesman Jasen Asay said the fire ripped through vehicles, trailers and tires. At times, explosions were heard, which Asay attributed to truck tires popping.
At 2 p.m., 20 to 30 mph winds were pushing the flames northwest toward some businesses. But fire department spokesman Scott Freitag said the blaze, which burned 8 to 10 acres, was 100 percent contained as of 2:25 p.m.
Jessica Miller contributed to this story.