Police looking for possible arsonist in Salt Lake City fires

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Fire investigators are looking for a man who might have been starting fires in Salt Lake City around 11 Sunday morning.

The fires happened seemingly all at the same time all within a block of each other.

"We had three fires involving brush rubbish and grass in the area of 900 South and 400 West," said Salt Lake City Fire Battalion Chief Mark Carson.

Carson says claims from a witness lead them to believe the fire may be arson.

Mo Hernandez lives nearby and says he saw a man walking away from the area right before a bale of cardboard in a compactor at Metro Steel, a recycling company in the area, burst into flames.

"It just in a matter of seconds -- it just full blossomed," he said. "It just exploded into fire."

It took firefighters two hours to put out the fires because they had to scatter the cardboard around to put out all the flames.

Crews were able to stop the fires before they caused too much damage.

"[There was] minimal dollar loss except in one instance where we had high stocked material," he said.

No structures were damaged.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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