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Arson not suspected in blaze that gutted $1 million Millcreek home

Published April 17, 2014 8:15 am

Menagerie perishes • Homeowner away, but flames claimed bird, cats . . . and a shark.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Fire investigators on Thursday probed the ashes of what was once a $1 million home in Millcreek, but tentatively had ruled out arson as the cause of the blaze that destroyed the residence.

Unified Fire Authority Battalion Chief Brian Anderton said the two-alarm fire completely destroyed the wood and masonry home on a heavily forested site, but an army of about 50 firefighters were able to keep the 6:30 p.m. Wednesday conflagration from spreading to neighboring residences.

Anderton estimated the damages at $1 million.

The sole male occupant was in Lehi at the time flames engulfed his home at 2680 E. Evergreen Ave. (3435 South), but Anderton on Thursday confirmed the homeowner's pets — three cats, a bird and a 3-foot shark in an aquarium — were lost.

The cause of the fire was still being determined, but Anderton said it had started on the home's back deck, and that the homeowner had been having some repairs and renovation work done recently.

"We are not suspecting arson and believe it was accidental" Anderton said.

He added that investigators should know the cause of the blaze by Friday morning.

Crews were on the scene through the night and eventually used a backhoe to tear down much of what remained of the charred, 3,700-square-foot residence.

There had been some concern about runoff from water poured on the flames finding its way into a nearby irrigation canal, but Anderton said Thursday that test samples from the canal had not so far indicated any resulting hazards to public health.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims