No clear cause in ‘conundrum’ of fire that burned shuttered downtown Salt Lake City building

No clear cause in ‘conundrum’ of fire that burned shuttered downtown Salt Lake City building

The fire didn’t cause any injuries or deaths, officials said.

(SLCFD) Firefighters with the Salt Lake City Fire Department battle a fire in an abandoned building on 300 South on Sept. 6.

There’s no clear cause of the mysterious fire that smoldered for about two days last week in the abandoned Oriental Furniture building in downtown Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City Fire Department Battalion Chief Dan Walker said Thursday that no one was hurt or killed in the fire. After it was extinguished, crews took a dog through the unstable building in a brief sweep to make sure no human remains were inside, he said.

Capt. Tony Stowe with the Salt Lake City Fire Department initially called the fire a “conundrum” on Sept. 6, saying, “I was there for four hours and pretty much walked away from a smoldering building that we’re unable to send anyone into.”

The old Oriental Furniture building, the site of the former Yardstick public art wall on the south side of 300 South, is still unsafe to enter, Walker said, even to determine how the fire started. Officials categorized the cause as “undetermined.”

The boarded-up former store is privately owned, Stowe said, but it’s been vacant for years. It’s been in use by unsheltered individuals, and was in such a state of disrepair that it should have been demolished, he said.

Fire crews had surrounded the building early Sept. 6 but could not immediately go inside to properly fight the fire because there were “too many unknowns,” Stowe said. Parts of the roof ended up caving in.

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