Warehouse blaze in Murray could burn for days, fire department says

Posted at 5:13 PM, Nov 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-08 23:16:59-05

MURRAY, Utah -- A fire in a Murray warehouse continues to burn more than a day after it caught fire, and firefighters say they can't put it out.

Flames flared up Sunday at an old warehouse in Murray, more than a day after it caught fire. Firefighters from Murray City Fire constantly babysat as the smoke billowed.

"We're just coming out every hour, two hours, to check on it--make sure we don't have any flare ups," firefighter Nick Haskin said.

They got caught in a Catch-22 with this blaze, which was reported around 9 a.m. Saturday.

"We can't make entry," Haskin said, referencing the danger to going inside. But that's what they'd need to do to extinguish the fire.

The only step they could take instead, is to spray the hose at the building. But water alone won't squash the smoldering.

"It's a big pile," he said, referring to the now-demolished part of the building. "There's a lot of fire underneath the pile that we can't get to, can't get access to."

So, the building continued to burn.

Several bystanders watched for hours as firefighters doused the charred warehouse.

The department worried this scene would eventually play out at the historic structure.

"This building's been in existence a long time. It's caused us a lot of concern," said  Deputy Fire Marshal Pat Killion of Murray City Fire.

He said the warehouse, built decades ago, has stood vacant for several years after a sustainable fish food company housed in the building relocated to Tooele.

It became a frequent spot for squatters. Plus, he said, the structure wasn't up to code.

They don't know yet what sparked the fire, but Killion called it suspicious.

Crews began tearing the building down the day the fire sparked. But demolition halted Sunday, because a special crane had to be called in to finish the job.

Haskin said it wouldn't arrive until Tuesday.

"A tall crane that can reach up to the top of the structure and dismantle the steel that's on top, and help bring it down," he said.

Until the crane arrives, Haskin said they'll continue damage control day and night as the building burns, with demolition as the only way to stop it.

A Utah Transit Authority TRAX line runs right past the building. On Saturday, it was shut down the entire day because of the fire.

Sunday, UTA officials stopped at the site throughout the day. TRAX trains slowed to a crawl in both directions as they passed the building.

Senior Media Relations Specialist Remi Barron said in an email they plan, "to coordinate the rest of the demolition work to be done at night when trains are not in service," to minimize impact on riders.