Fire investigators Thursday began probing the still warm ashes of a Lindon warehouse in hopes of learning what caused the blaze that erased the landmark building in a fury of smoke and flame.
"It looks like a bomb went off, basically," Lindon Police Chief Cody Cullimore said after visiting the scene of the 75-to-80-year-old Patch's Majestic Metals business fire Thursday morning. "We also had to demolish a lot of it to keep it from falling onto State Street."
State Street is the Utah County town's main arterial, and it was closed down or restricted into early Thursday morning. By 9 a.m., however, all lanes had been ordered reopened and normal traffic flow through the fire scene had resumed.
The early Wednesday morning fire gutted the structure at 475 N. State Street. Bob Patch, owner of Patch's Majestic Metals, had recently leased the warehouse to Ensign Group International, a furniture importer. The building was stacked high with cardboard boxes containing desks and chairs when the fire was first spotted about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Firefighters from Orem, Provo, Pleasant Grove and American Fork joined Lindon crews in battling the flames throughout the day. A portion of Lindon's main arterial, State Street, was closed down into late Wednesday; all lanes had been reopened by Thursday morning, Cullimore said.
"We still have some hot spots smoldering in there this morning. The investigation is just beginning into the cause [of the fire]," he said. "I can say, though, that right now we have no indications that this was suspicious in nature."
In addition to destroying the warehouse and damaging adjacent buildings, the fire reportedly damaged a 26,000-pound overhead crane that Patch used in his metal working business. Stabilizing the crane which rested partially melted and twisted metal rails was proving to be a challenge, Cullimore said Thursday.
Flames also forced evacuation of two nearby homes one of which was destroyed.
In all, nine people were evacuated from their homes during the fire.
Cullimore said Ensign workers were inside the building until 3 a.m. Wednesday, but did not see anything unusual. There was no evidence initially that the fire was suspicious and no injuries were reported.
Patches Majestic Metals may be best-known for creating the iconic water tower at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. The structure is visible from nearby Interstate 15.