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Authorities investigating cause of fire at abandoned building

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Posted at 9:10 PM, Aug 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-25 23:10:22-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Authorities are investigating after a two-alarm fire broke out at an abandoned building near downtown Salt Lake City Sunday.

Officials said the blaze began in a building that holds three separate apartments, and when crews arrived one apartment was already fully engulfed in flames.

The fire spread to a shared attic space, and nearby trees also caught fire. The flaming trees threatened several surrounding homes.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze quickly, and they didn’t find anyone inside.  Captain Tony Allred, Salt Lake City Fire Department, said it appears that people may have been squatting on the property.

“It did appear that people had been staying in the building that should have been abandoned and vacant,” he said. “At least recently. That’ll be an element for investigators to follow up on.”

Arson investigators will examine the incident closely. Officials said the fire is suspicious because it started in an abandoned building and grew very quickly.