Firefighters worried about fires saying ‘It just seems like they are coming every single day’

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Arson fires are becoming a big problem in Utah. 

With roughly a dozen structure fires in the last three weeks, officials have ruled more than half of them arson related. 

There is no denying that fires are devastating. 

In a flash dozens of people lost their belongings, homes, and place of work

The fires even more painful when inspectors say they were started by an arsonist. 

“When we deem that we think there might be a suspicion of a fire, there is something we just can’t pinpoint what is going on, we bring her in and have her sniff around,” says Fire Investigators Steve Bowen.

Investigator Bowen and his K9 partner Larielle with Unified Fire Authority look into fires and determine how they start. 

Right after our In Focus Discussion about the impact of arson, Bowmen and Lari rushed out to South Salt Lake for the second fire potentially started by an arsonist on Friday. 

“I love going on scene because that’s the best part,” he tells us. “I get out as early as I can to get the interview from the witnesses and the victims. That’s the main thing so we can find out any information that is there for us.”

“It just seems like they are coming every single day,” says UFA’s Assistant Chief Riley Pilgrim. 

Asst. Chief Pilgrim says UFA crews went on 17,000 calls. 1,700 of those were structure fires, and many are under investigation. 

“The structure fire cases, that is really unique,” he says. “Talking to a lot of people who have been in the valley 25 to 30 years doing this as a job here, most of them haven’t seen the number of fires we’ve had especially the last two to three weeks.”

These fires are beginning to take a toll on firefighters who are carrying roughly 60 pounds of gear in the hot weather.

“This is really abnormal,” says Asst. Chief Pilgrim. “It’s sometimes uncommon to have this amount of fires in such a small amount of time. It’s summer, it’s hot outside, people are active.”

Firefighters say it’s important people stay vigilant around fires.

If you see something suspicious make sure to tell one of the crews on scene. 

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