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SALT LAKE CITY -- The cause of a fast-moving brush fire that threatened businesses on the west side of Salt Lake this morning left firefighters scratching their heads. Fire investigators traced the start of the fire back to a power pole and there found the culprit - a raccoon.
Capt. Mark Bednarik of the Salt Lake City Fire Department said they found "a raccoon that was deceased - that had burn marks on him. His hair was singed, laying right at the point of origin."
Investigators met with the power company and believe the raccoon climbed to the top, chewed on some wires and fell to his death, sparking the brush fire that burned about ten acres and came close to several business.
Bednarik says conditions are very ready to burn, and with the gusty winds this morning, the conditions were just right for a burn like this. He says it's common for animals to climb power poles and hurt themselves, but much more rare that they actually ignite a blaze.
"This stuff - I don't think people can dream up this sort of thing. It just one of those things that happens," he said
Crews have fought several flare ups this morning - and continue to do so with brush trucks. While fighting the blaze, they found some hazardous waste. It is unrelated, but now hazmat and the Salt Lake County Health Department are on the scene.
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