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8 homes destroyed in Moab fire get green light for cleanup

SALT LAKE CITY โ€” More than a week after a brush fire in Moab destroyed nine homes, eight of those property owners have received approval from state officials to begin cleanup efforts.

Test results determined that of the nine homes destroyed in the Cinema Court fire, only one home had asbestos present, likely delaying the homeowner's ability to begin the cleanup process.

"We will work with the owner of the contaminated property to develop a mitigation plan for the cleanup," Orion Rogers, environmental health director for the Southeast Utah Health Department, said in a news release.

Owners were notified of the test results Thursday evening.

A photo lays in the rubble on Thursday, June 14, 2018, after a fire destroyed several homes in Moab on June 12.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

A photo lays in the rubble on Thursday, June 14, 2018, after a fire destroyed several homes in Moab on June 12.

The hazardous mineral asbestos โ€” present as long, thin fibrous crystals โ€” becomes a greater health risk following a fire because it can float in the air, making it susceptible to inhalation.

"It's really up to the homeowners and their insurers to move forward from here," according to Craig Sanchez, of the Grand County Office of Emergency Management.

The Grand County Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate the cause of the fire, including offering a $1,000 reward for any information that will lead to the arrest of whoever is responsible for the fire. Investigators determined the fire was human caused.

There were no serious injuries in the June 12 fire that destroyed a total of 12 structures. However, five firefighters and several residents were treated at the time for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion.

"There were nine homes, two garages and one shop" destroyed in the fire, Sanchez said. The fire was contained that evening.

The sheriff's office has asked the public to "continue to show respect for the residents of the impacted area" and refrain from going into the neighborhood as cleanup continues.

The sheriff's office is accepting monetary donations for those affected by the Cinema Court Fire at Desert Rivers Credit Union.

Those with information about the cause of the fire are encouraged to contact the sheriff's office at 435-259-8115.