A fire engulfed a storage shed and caused about $60,000 in damage behind a Nordstrom store at the Fashion Place Mall on Thursday.
Firefighters arrived behind the mall, at 6191 S. State Street, at about 3:45 p.m., as black smoke clouds billowed from the shed — a structure with an aluminum roof and walls of chain link interlaced with vinyl slats — used to store janitorial supplies.
The Nordstrom store was evacuated during the fire, but patrons were allowed to go inside by 4 p.m., said Fashion Place Mall Marketing Director Natalie Watson.
The fire burned swiftly.
"It was a big fire load. It was just jam-packed with toilet paper and paper towels and cleaning chemicals," Groves said.
Groves said the most expensive items in the shed were a John Deere Gator ATV maintenance vehicle and a motorized floor scrubber. "Everything is completely gone," Groves said, adding the fire burned very hot and the contents of the shed were considered a total loss.
The shed was near a loading dock behind the store and about eight feet from the main building. The aluminum roof above the loading dock was damaged along with a passenger door and smoke damage to the building. The flames also spread to a 53-foot Nordstrom transportation trailer.
Multiple agencies responded and quickly put out the fire within minutes of arrival, according to Murray City Deputy Fire Marshal Russ Groves.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but appears to be accidental at this point, Groves said.
An improperly discarded cigarette butt could be a possible cause, Groves said.
"It seems to be a popular area where people come out and smoke," he said.
One man saw the fire start and tried stomping it out with his feet. When that didn’t work he tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher. He then called 911. The man was questioned as a witness, along with others as investigators try to determine the cause.
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