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Police investigating cause of duplex fire after injured woman claims assault

By Haley Smith | Posted - May 8th, 2013 @ 12:39pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Police are investigating a fire at a Salt Lake City duplex Wednesday after one of the victims displaced by the fire gave allegations of domestic violence.

The Salt Lake City Fire Department responded to a report of the duplex fire at 9 a.m. at 377 N. 800 West. When they arrived on the scene, all of the tenants had safely evacuated the building.

"When our crews arrived, both occupants were outside of the structure and a passerby was using a garden hose to try and put out the fire," said Salt Lake City fire department representative Jasen Asay.

Firefighters were able to enter the building and quickly put out the fire, but the front rooms of the building were considered a total loss. One apartment in the building did not receive any fire damage, but officials are displacing the mother and daughter for several days due to possible electrical damage.

Investigators said the fire originated in the front room of the ground-level apartment where a husband and wife lived. Officials are investigating the cause of the fire when suspicions were raised by injuries that the woman had which were not related to the fire.

"The woman who was at the home during the fire told firefighters that she had been assaulted," Asay said. "And we've turned that over to the police."

The husband was arrested and will be booked on suspicion of domestic violence. Witnesses at the fire said the woman's face was "pretty messed up."

Police said they believe there is "more to this" than a simple house fire. The husband and wife will both be questioned as the investigation continues.

Fire investigators have ruled out electrical malfunctions as the cause of the fire, and the fire department has taken the husband's clothes as evidence during the investigation.

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