Flame Starters Could Be Caught White Handed

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Payson police are looking for someone who may have come home with white paint on his or her hands Tuesday evening.

A five-gallon container of paint and handprints were found at the scene of a suspicious brush fire north of the newly developed section of East Main Street in Payson.

"It was probably kids playing with fire," Police Officer Les Barr said. "They were also fooling around with some paint and making handprints on an old couch out there."

The fire was reported by a bystander who dialed 911 after spotting flames at about 7 p.m. Tom Fife, Payson Fire Battalion Chief, credits the caller for her quick response.

"This fire had the potential to be very dangerous had it gone unnoticed," Fife said. "The key to ultimate protection is quick response. We can't be everywhere, so we love it when the public calls in. They become our extra eyes."

The fire burned about 100 square feet of forested area just northeast of Beeline Highway and Main Street. The paint was still wet when the Payson Fire Department arrived to extinguish the flames.

"This appears to be just some kids being mischievous," Fife said. "But the kids need to know this fire could have done some serious damage -- just look what happened in California."

Police believe the white paint hand prints will be helpful.

Anyone with information about the white-handed hoodlums is asked to call Payson police at (928) 474-5177.

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