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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

Fatal Draper house fire was intentionally set, fire officials say

By Pat Reavy, Deseret News

Published: Mon, July 28 6:39 p.m. MDT

 Unified firefighters work on a house fire in Draper  Friday, July 25, 2014.  The home caught fire after what may have been a gas explosion.  The occupant was transported to the hospital.

Unified firefighters work on a house fire in Draper Friday, July 25, 2014. The home caught fire after what may have been a gas explosion. The occupant was transported to the hospital.

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

DRAPER — Unified Fire Authority investigators have ruled out natural gas as the cause of an explosion and massive fire that destroyed a Draper home and killed the homeowner.

Unified Fire Battalion Chief Brian Anderton said Monday that "some other form of accelerant" was spread in several places throughout the house at 15091 S. Junction Circle (235 East).

K-9s specialized in sniffing out accelerants were brought to the scene and "hit" on several spots throughout the structure, Anderton said.

What that tells investigators, he said, is that the fire was intentionally set. However, while he wouldn't directly say that Paul Broadhurst, 40, died as a result of suicide after starting the fire, he noted that investigators are currently "not looking for suspects."

Anderton also confirmed Monday that Draper police were called to do a welfare check on Broadhurst Friday about the same time the fire was reported.

Anderton said investigators will continue processing evidence, but the cause of the fire will likely go down as "undetermined" but "intentional" in nature.

Broadhurst was alone in the house when it exploded into flames. Friends said his wife and two children were in Idaho at the time.

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1. David RI
SLC, UT,
July 28, 2014

Sad. When I read his family was safe and in Idaho the thought of a suicide did cross my mind. If true, maybe he was trying to make it look like an accident to spare his family any guilt. Very dangerous way to choose to go out. Very dangerous to the neighbors, their homes, and the first responders. Sad all around.