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Firefighters battle 4-alarm blaze in Orem

Published: Thursday, Oct. 27 2011 10:13 p.m. MDT

Orem Fire Department work on an autobody shop fire at 1470 North State Street in Orem Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

OREM — Firefighters were at the scene of a four-alarm fire Friday that affected at least two businesses in Orem.

Individuals passing by the area of 1461 N. State Street reported the fire around 6:40 p.m., Orem Department of Public Safety Sgt. Craig Martinez said. Flames were first seen through the roof of Maltese Auto, an RV dealer and repair business. But the building houses a number of businesses, including an automobile dealership and repair shop as well as an automobile electric company.

"It was pretty big and pretty hot for quite a while," Martinez said of the fire.

Martinez said firefighters from four Orem fire stations and one Provo station responded to the scene, but were unable to get inside the building for almost an hour after the roof of the building collapsed.

"It wasn't safe for our firefighters," Martinez said.

No one was in the building when the fire started and all of the businesses were closed. Just after 8 p.m., Martinez said the fire was mostly contained.

Fire investigators were on-scene, but Martinez said they wouldn't be able to go in to assess the damage or look into the cause of the fire because the roof isn't structurally sound. It was anticipated they would be able to enter the building Friday.

Two lanes on southbound State Street were shut down while firefighters battled the blaze. Martinez said no other buildings were threatened, but that two families were displaced from a nearby trailer park due to the smoke.

The Utah branch of the American Red Cross reported that they went to site to provide canteen services to the firefighters.

Jim Wilson, who has owned the building for 20 years with his brother, said his brother called him and told him that the building was on fire.

"I thought he was just kidding, but when I found out he was serious I jumped in the car and came over," Wilson said. "By then, all the firefighters were here and they were trying to put out the flames."

Still, Wilson said his primary concern was safety.

"Fortunately no one was hurt," he said. "That was the important thing. Buildings can be rebuilt."

Emiley Morgan Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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