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3 vacant homes go up in flames Thursday

Published: Thursday, June 27 2013 5:50 p.m. MDT

Salt Lake City firefighters work in the heat Thursday, June 27, 2013, to put out a fire burning in three abandoned homes at 950 S. 400 West.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Three abandoned homes were destroyed in a two-alarm fire Thursday that sent thick smoke into the air.

No one was injured in the blaze, which quickly spread from roof to roof between the three tinder-dry structures about 3:30 p.m, Salt Lake fire spokesman Jasen Asay said. Nearly 40 firefighters were called in to contain the blaze and prevent the hot, dry wind from pushing the flames into dry grass or nearby businesses.

The three small houses near 400 West and 950 South were empty at the time. The department's spring graduating class used the buildings in a training exercise in April.

"We do know that they're dangerous, that there's a big risk of collapse," Asay said. "We're familiar with the homes, we knew the dangers of being inside them if they were heavily on fire, like they were when we arrived."

Thick smoke and large flames were pouring from all three buildings when fire crews reached the scene, Asay said. Witnesses told investigators the fire started in the northernmost house, then spread to the other two.

The cause of the fire was under investigation and no damage estimate was available Thursday. The homes were scheduled to be demolished, Asay said.

As crews worked in the 100-degree heat, they took precautions to stay hydrated and avoid heat exhaustion and no one was sent into the buildings, Asay said.

"It's always difficult to fight fires in this kind of weather," he said. "We obviously want to take care of our firefighters, and we don't have any firefighter injury reports today."

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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