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Ravell Call, Deseret News
The aftermath of a house fire at 359 N. 700 West in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

SALT LAKE CITY — Investigators believe a fire that destroyed an abandoned home early Wednesday was caused by a transient who had been staying there.

Firefighters responded to the home at 359 N. 700 West just after 1:30 a.m. after a call came in from someone traveling on I-15, Salt Lake fire spokesman Jasen Asay said. Firefighters arrived and found flames burning through the roof of the home.

They entered the house to combat the blaze, but were later pulled from the building when the floor above the basement began to collapse. The roof collapsed and the home was destroyed.

Asay reported that a large tree in the backyard was also badly burned, but firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to surrounding homes.

The cause of the fire is currently undetermined.

The man who called to report the fire responded first to the home and told officials he saw a man exiting the home when he arrived. The man apparently dropped some paper and clothing.

When he returned to retrieve those items, Asay said he was taken into custody and cited for reckless burning. It is believed he had been living in the home.

One firefighter sustained minor injuries fighting the blaze when he tried to open a window with a crowbar and injured his thumb. He was treated at a local hospital and later released.

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