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4-alarm fire damages 3 businesses


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Late Saturday night, firefighters were still putting water on what was, at one point, a 4-alarm blaze near 800 South and 4200 West.

There were actually three businesses involved in the fire that started around 7:30 Saturday night: Central Pallet of Utah, Western Metals Recycling and Applied Insulation. Wood pallets, semi trucks and propane tanks were all inside several of the buildings and caused several explosions when the fire hit them.

Bruce Cox, the man who first called 911 to report the fire, works nearby and thinks it may have started as a grass fire. "I seen black smoke and thought that it might be a train. And so when I drove across the tracks, I looked down the tracks and didn't see a train, so I assumed I had a fire. That's when I came back around and called 911," he said.

There's no definite word on the cause of the fire, but officials say a passing train may have sparked dry grass. They think a spark flew off the train tracks, igniting dry grass and piles of materials on the grounds of Central Pallet of Utah. The fire quickly spread to the nearby Applied Insulation and Western Metals.

We're also being told there's no indication that anyone was inside any of the businesses at the time the fire started, and there were no injuries to firefighters.

However, heat exhaustion was a huge concern in fighting this fire. In fact, more than 100 firefighters were called to the scene so that crews could switch out and support each other to help keep each other from getting ill from the extreme temperatures.

Right now, damage to the three businesses is estimated at a combined $500,000.

Meanwhile, this isn't the first time a fire has occurred at Central Pallet. Back in July 2006, another large fire burned for hours at the same location. Flames there were huge as well.

Sparks from a passing train ignite dry grass and it spread into the yard in that fire. No one was hurt in that fire either.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Sarah Dallof

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