SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – In the past month, there’s been roughly a dozen fires that damaged or destroyed multi-unit structures such as apartment buildings and business complexes. A good number of these fires have been ruled by fire investigators as arson, leading to the State Fire Marshal to express that he’s never seen so many of these types of fires occur in such a short time period during his 40-year career in Utah.
These fires have left dozens of residents and business owners left to pick up the pieces after being displaced from their homes or losing their livelihoods. While investigators have made some arrests, the road to recovery for these victims will be long and difficult. Officials are now looking into whether there’s a dangerous pattern and alarming trend emerging.
Sara Rose (Sara Rose Massage Therapy) and Alexa Lennon Ardenne (Synergistic Healing Arts) are two of dozens of business owners who were impacted by an arson fire that destroyed their business complex in Sugarhouse back on June 13. They joined ABC4’s Jason Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion about the impact they experienced as a result of the tragedy. They shared what they went through on the day of the fire, how they felt when they found out the fire was arson, and what they are doing to try and move forward.
Steve Bower, who is a fire investigator for Unified Fire Authority and his K9 partner, Larielle talked about their message to Utahns going into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, what they look for when they go inside of a scene to investigate a fire, how important a dog’s role in the investigation, what the next step is when they rule a fire as arson, and what they think may be the cause of the uptick in structure fires.
Asst. Chief Riley Pilgrim of Unified Fire Authority discussed the latest data on fires, how arsonists are held accountable, whether he’s seen a pattern like this during his fire career, how firefighters help victims cope, and the concern about fireworks and dumpster fires going into the holiday weekend.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Rose, Ardenne, Bower, and Asst. Chief Pilgrim, click on the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.