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Police: Utah man killed self in explosive house fire

Published July 29, 2014 4:54 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

A Draper man started an explosive house fire on Friday after sending a note to friends and family saying he was ready to kill himself, police said Tuesday.

Paul Broadhurst, 40 — who died Friday night — was the only one home when the house at 15082 S. Junction Circle (235 East) ignited.

Draper police Deputy Chief John Eining said authorities believe Broadhurst started the fire to end his life. Eining did not release specific language from the suicide note.

Police and fire crews responded to the house fire at 7:25 a.m. Friday, according to police.

At 7:32 a.m., police, who were already on the scene, received a request from an undisclosed source to check the welfare of Broadhurst, police said Tuesday.

Investigators found accelerant in several spots in the suburban home, said Fire Authority battalion chief Brian Anderton.

Broadhurst died Friday night at the University Hospital burn unit in Salt Lake City, according to a statement issued by his family that also thanked medical personnel who assisted him and asked for privacy during the grieving process.

An investigation was continuing. However, authorities don't expect to find more evidence because the blaze gutted the home, Anderton said.

"With the fuel that was used to light it, it almost had an explosive property," he said without elaborating.

The fiery blast sent debris crashing into nearby homes, and authorities ordered evacuations as a precaution. Glass, toys and debris littered the yard.

Sean Miner, who lives next door to the charred home, said he heard a boom and saw an injured man stumble to a screen door and fall.

The man was covered in soot and blood, he said. Helicopters and fire crews arrived moments later.

David Politis, who lives a block away, said he heard the blast and ran to help. He saw two men surrounding another whose clothes had burned off. He gave a blanket and water to the injured man before crews arrived, he told The Salt Lake Tribune.

— The Associated Press contributed to this story.

shunt@sltrib.com