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Basement Lighting Malfunction Causes 4-alarm Fire at Utah Film Center Office

Utah Film Center

An accident was the cause of a four-alarm fire early Tuesday morning in downtown Salt Lake City according to investigators. The blaze caused extensive damage to the Utah Film Center offices at 122 South Main Street. Captain Mark Bednarik of the Salt Lake City fire department says an overheated fluorescent lighting ballast in the basement was the cause of the fire. He says the call came in around 3:30 in the morning with the report of smoke filling the upper floor.

“It was about 65 firefighters that responded. We had South Salt Lake Fire come in and give us some assistance on that,” says Bednarik.

Crews were able to control the blaze fairly quickly once they got to the origin of the fire in the basement, according to Bednarik. He says investigators will begin their work as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Elisabeth Nebeker is the Executive Director of the Utah Film Center. She says although the fire is devastating for the organization, she and her staff will move forward with scheduled events.

“Tonight we have a screening of Newtown. We were able to get the film and test it. There was no fire damage,” says Nebeker.

She says no schedule changes are planned for film screenings but she says due to the extensive damage they will not be able to return to their offices for quite some time.

“And we’re so grateful for the response and the people that are coming out and reaching out to us and asking ‘how we can help,’” Nebeker says.

Reportedly no residents or firefighters were injured in the blaze.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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