3 vacant house fires spark in one week in SLC’s Ballpark neighborhood

Dec 2, 2022, 10:46 PM

SALT LAKE CITYSalt Lake City firefighters were once again called to a house fire in the Ballpark neighborhood. That makes three fires at the same row of vacant homes in just the past week.

“It’s the exact same cast of characters over and over and over and over again,” said Jason Marsh of Lockhart Enterprises.

You can hear the frustration in his voice, especially since the latest fire, the third at these vacant homes in just the past week, happened Friday morning.

“I understand it’s very cold outside, but most of the time, they’ll light the fires and they’ll leave,” he said.

“It’s just the Wild West,” Marsh added. “It’s free rein, and all of us property owners are just sitting back, wondering ‘what if our place burns down?'”

City leaders are aware of the issues along Major Street the past two years.

Amy Hawkins, who chairs the community council for the Ballpark neighborhood, has been to countless meetings about them.

“Most of the residents and business owners on this street are tired of this,” Hawkins said.

She said a big part of the issue is the man who owns all four of the homes hasn’t sold them and may not be willing to until the price is right.

In the meantime, all the boarded up windows, doors, no trespassing signs and fences haven’t worked to keep people from breaking into them.

“Is it going to be fines? Is it going to be an emergency demolition? I mean, just this week alone, this has cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars,” Hawkins said.

And it’s not just fires many people are worried about.

“It’s bringing in lots of drug traffic and lots of homelessness,” said Dan Dalton of Davis Distributing. “Customers kind of just being worried about their vehicles, parking their vehicles out there.”

While KSL TV’s Alex Cabrero was out there Friday, getting video of the houses, a friend of the man who owns them came by, just asking what he was doing. Cabrero explained, then gave the man his business card, saying we would love to hear the owner’s side of the story, but so far, we have not heard back.

For those who live and work in the area, though, they’re just hoping something changes soon.

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3 vacant house fires spark in one week in SLC’s Ballpark neighborhood