Fire guts vacant Ogden building

Jun 28 2011 - 10:23pm

Images

(KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner) 
Membersof the Ogden Fire Department put out a structure fire on 20th Street west of Wall Avenue in Ogden on Tuesday.
(KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner) 
The fire burns in the interior of the building.
(KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner) 
Membersof the Ogden Fire Department put out a structure fire on 20th Street west of Wall Avenue in Ogden on Tuesday.
(KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner) 
The fire burns in the interior of the building.

OGDEN -- A fire in an abandoned building at 240 W. 20th St. early Tuesday evening left behind a gutted structure fire officials were thinking of knocking down.

But a friend who stopped to see the smoldering ruins worried that the flames may have cut short the life of a woman he knows only as Alice.

As firefighters wet down ashes inside what had become only a frame, Butch Cullens, of Harrisville, said a woman, whom he believes to be 30, had been living in the upstairs of the building.

He said he met her one day when he was looking for scrap metal to sell for recycling.

"Everyone I ever knew that met her liked her," he said of the woman. "She was sweet and always had a smile on her face, even living in that thing."

Cullens said he and his wife, Breezy, often would stop by to check on Alice, sometimes bringing her food.

"I'm hoping she didn't fall asleep with anything going up there," he said, noting that the woman often made fires to cook or to keep warm in the winter.

Fire officials were called to the scene, which was surrounded by vacant buildings and a vacant warehouse complete with evidence of camping and much graffiti, at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.

The structure was engulfed when firefighters arrived to douse the building from above and from the sides.

The vacant building appeared to have once been a garage with an apartment on top.

But Cullens said the structure was long past its prime.

He said he remembers it being used as a storage facility in the former Triple A Auto and Salvage Yard.

He said Alice moved into the building shortly after the auto and salvage yard was taken out.

But Ogden Fire Battalion Chief Mike Wood said he didn't believe the woman was in the structure when it burned.

"It doesn't add up that way," he said, stating that he believed Cullens changed his story.

Wood said he was unsure of how the fire started, but said the structure would be torn down within the next few days.

He also said firefighters went into the building to check for a body, but did not find anyone.

 

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