This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Sandra Yi reportingA man died in an intense fire that destroyed a home in Cottonwood Heights. Investigators are calling the fire suspicious.
Investigators are still trying to identify the man, but he's believed to be in his late 20s to mid-40s. The fire is suspicious because an accelerant was found in the kitchen. The house is a total loss.
Neighbor Linda Burns pounded on the door of the home when she saw the fire. She told us, "When I came out to sit on the porch, I noticed a bunch of smoke coming out of the house."
She says a black truck that was parked at the home belongs to the owner's nephew, so she feared someone was inside. "It happened so fast, I knew that if he was in there, there was no chance that he was going to come out," she said.
Firefighters arrived within minutes, but the fire had spread too quickly. The roof had collapsed and firefighters had to fight the fire from the outside. They discovered a badly burned body inside, in the kitchen, near a sliding glass door.
Investigators say the fire is suspicious because it burned so fast and was so intense. Neighbors felt the heat. Burns said, "When those windows started popping out, there was glass just flying."
She says the owner lives in California and stays in the house a few days each month. The owner paid her nephew to do yard work. This was going to be her retirement home. "She just put so much money and effort into that house. It's just incredibly sad. I'm so sorry for her," Burns said.
Firefighters couldn't say if they were looking for a suspect or if the person who died set the fire. The arson task force is investigating.