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Courtney Orton and Marc Giauque reportingA Salt Lake home went up in flames this morning while the family was away. The house, located near 500 South and 700 East, caught on fire just before 10 a.m. Fire crews believe the family members who lived there were at work and school when the house went up in flames.
"It looked really bad. There were big flames coming out of the windows, and the people next door, they were trying to squirt it down with a hose and squirt their own house down so it didn't catch on fire," said neighbor John Buxton.
When firefighters first got there, they feared the family, a couple and their four children, was inside. Crews searched the house and determined the family of six wasn't here.
Residents who live nearby saw the flames and came rushing to the house. Buxton says he feared for the family. "I was kind of sickened at first. Luckily, they said they didn't find anyone in there. But it's unfortunate that they're a struggling young couple, now they're without a house," he said.
Firefighters got to the scene in about three minutes. That's pretty quick compared to the average four-and-a-half minute response time.
Crews say the flames started on the main floor and went into the attic. Still no word on a cause, although authorities believe it was accidental, possibly started by a furnace.
Fire crews estimate the damage at nearly $100,000, and sadly a dog was killed in the blaze.