Abandoned Murray City buildings pose risks to the Utah Humane Society

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Murray, UT (May 15, 2020) — Multiple fires have threatened animal shelter workers and pets
 
The Utah Humane Society is asking the Murray City officials to take action to demolish the abandoned Fountain of Youth building and indoor soccer building south of their property located in the area at 4255 S Commerce Drive (300 W) after a 2-alarm fire occurred at approximately 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 14. In addition to multiple fires on this property that have posed a dangerous threat to the animal shelter, the Utah Humane Society has made numerous complaints to the city about trespassers, property damage and drug paraphernalia. Rachel Heatley, Utah Humane Society advocacy director, has made attempts to contact the property owner and Murray City to resolve the organization’s worries.
 
“The abandoned structures are a great concern for all of us who work at the Humane Society of Utah,” said Heatley. “It is a magnet for illegal activity, transients and stray animals. It has caught on fire numerous times over the last few years and we are absolutely terrified that the fire will one day spread to our shelter, endangering our employees and the animals in our care. Additionally, people (primarily teenagers) park in our lot to access the building, essentially trespassing on our land. Often times, they cut holes in the fence that separates our property from that property to gain access. It is also a safety concern for our staff and volunteers who have found drug paraphernalia on our property near this area. When employees work late at night, they have been disturbed by random people who live or hang out in the building wandering our parking lot, peering into our windows, etc. For the safety of our employees and the animals we care for, we really need help in mitigating this problem.”
 
Murray City firefighters responded to the fire on the evening of May 14 with help from 26 additional crew members from neighboring cities including Unified Fire Authority and South Salt Lake Fire. 
 
Murray fire officials have also responded to fires at this location on Jan. 18, 2020, Dec. 20, 2019, and June 16, 2018. 
 
After responding to a call with multiple fire departments on Dec. 20, 2019, Murray Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Mittelman commented on the fire risk caused by people stockpiling trash and tree debris to burn in an effort to keep warm. “We’ve been here multiple times on different fires in the past four to five years at least,” said Mittelman in an article published by Gephardt Daily on Dec. 21, 2019. “The structure in the back is the old soccer stadium. It burned really bad in 2017. This structure (the Fountain of Youth building) is very dangerous, and there are great drops inside — 20 to 30 feet. We’d really like to see this structure demolished.”
 
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