Two men died when their helicopter crashed through the roof of an unoccupied building north of Salt Lake City on Tuesday, a fire official said.
The helicopter struck the two-story building of a company called Wimpole Street Creations in North Salt Lake and came to a rest on the second story, said South Davis Metro Fire Agency Deputy Chief Dave Powers.
The two men in the helicopter were pronounced dead at the scene, Powers said. Firefighters extracted one of the men and tried to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful, he said.
The building’s sprinkler system, despite being damaged in the crash, put out most of the flames from the crash in the suburb of 17,000 residents just north of Salt Lake City.
Wimpole Street Creations, which according to its website sells decorative linens, aprons and similar items, was in the process of moving to another site, and the building was empty at the time of the crash, Powers said.
“If the business had been occupied like it was maybe a month ago, before they started moving, there almost certainly would have been more fatalities,” he said.
A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the crash, confirmed that a helicopter had gone down in the area but could not provide further details.
A reporter for local television station KUTV said on Twitter that witnesses to the crash saw an explosion and ran away as pieces of metal were sent flying.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)