Fire ripped through a century-old structure owned by Union Pacific early Tuesday, burning for more than 10 hours, reports ksl.com.
The vacant building was located at 300 W. 24th Street in the Union Pacific rail yard. The abandoned warehouse had previously been used as a cold storage facility.
About 1:30 a.m., an ambulance crew returning to their station from another call saw smoke coming from the building, said Ogden Deputy Fire Chief Eric Bauman. “They could see a significant column of smoke, but they couldn’t see any flame,” he said.
In the short time it took for nearby firefighters to get there, Bauman said the fire had burned through the roof. Firefighters immediately went into a defensive mode for safety, meaning they put water on the building from the outside and prevented it from spreading to other nearby structures, but they did not attempt to enter.
The department worked Tuesday to stabilize the building and prevent an untimely collapse. The east and west walls will be razed, Bauman said, and later the entire structure will be demolished after it’s examined for asbestos.
One tool that helped fire administrators make decisions on fighting the inferno was the use of a drone.
“It was really helpful in this one where we have a large building, a lot of fire, and it just gives you a different vantage point. It proved very helpful and very successful,” Bauman said.
While most of the building suffered heavy fire damage, crews were able to keep it away from one area that had a large number of pallets that would have fueled the fire, he said.
It was the first time the Ogden Fire Department used a drone for a large fire. Bauman called it just one more tool that the department can use to make strategic decisions in an emergency situation. Incident commanders could see from the ground where the fire had burned and where it was still active.
The large structure, built mostly of cement blocks, is a consortium of adjacent buildings. The first building was constructed in the early 1900s, Bauman said. Over the years, about seven additional structures were built onto it.
Bauman said no update was available late Tuesday on the extent of the damage or cause of the fire.
The building had been vacant for about two years. Even though all the utilities had been shut off, Bauman said investigators weren’t ready yet to call it suspicious.
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