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Nine cars being stored in a backyard were destroyed or heavily damaged early Thursday in a quick-moving fire.

SALT LAKE CITY — Nine cars being stored in a backyard were destroyed or heavily damaged early Thursday in a quick-moving fire.

Just after midnight, dry grass in the backyard at 451 E. Wilson Ave. was ignited and the fire quickly spread, said Salt Lake fire spokeswoman Audra Sorensen.

It was only a couple of days earlier that a friend of the homeowner moved nine vehicles into the backyard for temporary keeping before he could transfer them to a lot to be resold, Sorensen said. She described them as "nice" cars, such as Lexuses and Audis.

Four cars were engulfed by the fire and destroyed, she said. Five others suffered extensive heat damage. Early damage estimates were at $100,000, but that figure was expected to go higher.

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The fire was believed to be human caused but accidental, Sorensen said. Where the spark came from that ignited the dry grass, however, was unknown as of Thursday. Investigators believe it was not sparked by the homeowner or from anything in his yard. Whether a firework or an ember from a nearby fire pit came into his yard and lit the grass was unknown.

Neighbors attempted to help put out the fire by jumping the fence and using fire extinguishers, but the flames moved too quickly, she said. Firefighters needed an hour to contain the blaze. A fence was damaged in addition to the cars, but Sorensen said a structure on the property — either a garage or a shed — was saved.

No injuries were reported.