Two men died Saturday after a small fire in a Salt Lake motel filled their room with smoke.
One man was dead at the scene and the other died at LDS Hospital an hour after the 8 a.m. blaze at Colonial Village Motel, 1530 S. Main. Police had not released the identities or ages of the men at press time, saying investigators were still investigating the circumstances surrounding the fire."The smoke was very heavy in their room," Ed Salzetti, the motel owner said. "I opened the door and couldn't see anything. I didn't know if anybody was in there."
Salzetti said he held his breath, ran into the room, located the men and pulled them to the door.
"One of them was still breathing, the other didn't respond at all." He said one man was lying on a couch in the room, and the other was on the floor near a bed.
Both men likely died of smoke inhalation, Salt Lake Fire Battalion Chief J.D. Roberts said.
The pair checked into the motel Friday about 5 p.m. They were dropped off by a man driving a car, Salzetti said.
The fire burned carpet, two beds and part of a wall, causing $1,000 damage, Roberts said.
Bedding on a floor furnace vent "smoldered for a long" time and then burst into flames spreading to the wall, he said.
The motel has 36 rooms and has "had a couple of fires over the years," said Salzetti, who bought the building in 1973. "But nothing like this."
Hours later, firefighters knocked down a house fire at 1958 S. 300 East.
Flames erupted in the basement of the home and burned through the floor and wall, causing $45,000 damage.
The owner of the house said he was repairing a broken water pipe in the basement and left to buy some supplies.
"I was driving down the street and saw the smoke and then realized it was my house that was on fire," Tom Reinerth said.
More than 23 firefighters responded at 3:15 p.m. to the blaze and doused the flames in 10 minutes.
Salt Lake Battalion Chief Jim Kleine said heavy smoke poured from the house as firefighters arrived.
"There is significant smoke and water damage," he said. "I've been doing this for 19 1/2 years, and it never ceases to amaze me how destructive fire is."
The cause of the fire is under investigation.