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Fires damage business, cars in Salt Lake County


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SALT LAKE CITY -- It was a wakeup call for the Wasatch Front: Summer is here, and so is the summer fire season. Several fires started in the Salt Lake Valley Wednesday, destroying a lot of property, even causing some injuries.

Part of an automotive shop near 4100 West and 2100 South caught fire just before 2:30 p.m. People driving along SR 201 saw the fire and called 911. When firefighters arrived, there were heavy smoke and flames.

"The structure was completely engulfed in fire," said Mark Bednarik, spokesman the Salt Lake City Fire Department. "Our crews made an attack. It brought this up to a third-alarm assignment."

Because of the 3-alarm call, six fire engines and two ladder trucks responded. A hazmat team was also called out because there are hazardous materials in the auto shop.

The damaged area is in the back of the building, which has several separate spaces separated by cinder-block walls in order to prevent a fire from spreading. Firefighters cut a hole in an the adjoining space to let spoke out because they say a fire can spread quickly by smoke.

"They're doing what's called a trench cut, which is opening up a long strip on the roof. And that prevents further fire spread into the adjoining buildings," said Mark Bednarik, spokesman for the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

The roof of that space did collapse, but the walls are still standing. Firefighters say it will be up to the insurance company to determine whether it's a total loss.

No one was hurt in this fire; all employees here have been accounted for. Apparently, they were all at lunch when the fire started.

The heat, however, was a little bit of a challenge for firefighters. A safety chief was on site to ensure firefighter safety. There were coolers out and a rehab truck refilling air tanks. An ambulance was also on site for firefighters in case anyone got hurt.

Investigators say they don't know the cause of this fire yet, but they say it does not look suspicious.

Meanwhile, another fire kept crews busy near 2200 West and Central Avenue in South Salt Lake. It began as a grass fire but spread to an area where several cars were parked.

Some of those cars were burned pretty badly. At least one person suffered burns in this fire and was taken to the hospital.

No word on the cause of this second fire either.

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Story compiled with contributions from Sandra Yi and Ben Winslow.

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