A Payson home raided by law enforcement this past week burned to the ground Monday, and officials are calling the blaze suspicious.
Payson Fire Chief Marty deMasi said when the department arrived at the home located at 309 S. Oak shortly after 5 a.m., it was fully engulfed in flames.
The fire department launched a defensive attack on the outside of the structure with lots of water to keep the fire from spreading to nearby residences.
He said the fire was contained quickly.
Once the fire was under control, the department borrowed a backhoe from the town to tear the building down.
Initially, deMasi said, firefighters were told there was a person still inside the home, which turned out to be untrue.
DeMasi said the fire is very suspicious, in part because there was no power to the home and the propane tank was empty.
"No one was supposed to be living there, because they are all in jail," he said.
Dallas Hall, 54, the former occupant of the home is in jail on a variety of drug charges.
The fire could have been an accident, but, he said, that seems unlikely.
The main suspicion stems from a raid that the Payson Police Department made on the home last Thursday where three arrests were made on numerous drug charges.
The recent criminal activity at the home was taken into account.
"Those circumstances made this suspicious in itself," he said.
The loss of the home and furniture is estimated at $250,000.
The fire chief said because the fire is under investigation, he could not disclose the origin of where the fire started.
Payson Police Commander Don Engler said it began in the center of the home.
"We have upgraded it from accidental to suspicious in nature," the commander said.
Engler said authorities have identified more than one man who may have been responsible for the fire.
Police also have obtained some information and are looking for additional people to interview.
Engler said more information will be available today, Tuesday. Watch payson.com for updates.