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Three-alarm fire destroys vacant historic hotel in downtown SLC

Posted at 6:40 PM, Feb 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-20 20:40:25-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Smoke could be seen for miles as fire crews battled a blaze at a historic building in downtown Salt Lake City.

Fire crews responded to the three-alarm fire at 150 East South Temple early Sunday morning.

READ: Vacant building fire leaves downtown Salt Lake City covered in smoke

Rian McKee lives down the street. He saw the smoke from his window and went to check it out.

"When I got out here, was in the early stages, the fire crews were just barely setting up,” McKee said.

McKee took several pictures, detailing what he was seeing as it was unfolding.

"We kind of get a little step-by-step going through with the you know the flames, you know all the smoke coming up, the fire crews, they're getting their ladder trucks up in place and then the water starting to spray out.”

Eileen and Angelo Giardino also live nearby.

They saw the smoke billowing around six in the morning.

They waited until the sun came up to come out and see the damage left behind.

"You know, this is probably the largest building that this has happened," Eileen said.

Fire crews worked from about 2 a.m. through mid-afternoon, even after the building came down due to the fire.

The building was once known as the Carlton Hotel.

Chris Merritt, a State Historic Preservation Officer says it was built around 1926-27.

"In 1980 it was actually listed on the National Register as part of the South Temple Historic District," Merritt said.

The building was vacant and in the process of being demolished.

However, Merritt says, it is still hard to see some of Salt Lake's history go up in flames.

"The worst sentence for a building, a historic building is to go vacant and once it went vacant it was, you know, a matter of time before demolition or you know, a fire would hit it."

It was a sentiment echoed by McKee.

"It takes time to process that,” he said. “You know, something can start that fast, have that destructive of a nature behind it.”

No injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.