Police and fire officials are still investigating what sparked a two-alarm blaze that quickly engulfed a two-story home Wednesday afternoon on a scenic hilltop east of town.
Payson Fire Chief Marti deMasi said Frank, the arson dog from the Globe Fire Department, along with Payson police detectives and Payson firefighters were at the home Thursday afternoon to comb through the charred remains and determine a cause.
The hilltop home, in the 1400 block of Cedar Lane, quickly ignited around 11 a.m. Jan. 7 after a fire apparently started in the corner of the home’s garage, officials said.
deMasi gave the following account of the incident.
A construction worker working on a neighboring home noticed smoke billowing out from under the garage door. He went over to the home at the same time as the homeowner, Sharon Allsup, was coming outside. She told the construction worker the home’s smoke detectors were going off.
Allsup told fire officials she first noticed the fire when she opened the door to the garage from inside the home and saw smoke filling the area.
She then went outside, where construction workers were waiting. The garage door was opened either by the homeowner or by the force of the fire, officials said.
“After the garage door was opened, that is when the fire took off because it got more air,” deMasi said.
Allsup wanted to re-enter the home to gather some belongings, but the construction workers told her to wait outside until firefighters arrived.
“They stopped her, and that probably saved her life,” deMasi said.
Seven minutes after a construction worker called 911, the first engine arrived on the scene.
Around 37 firefighters were called to help control the blaze, and kept it from spreading to nearby trees.
“The way the fire was spreading so quickly, we went into a defensive mode because there is no sense creating a life hazard (situation) for property that is already lost,” he said.
Officials do not have a clear idea of what was in the corner of the garage that started the fire. Firefighters were on scene for almost eight hours extinguishing lingering hot spots Wednesday.
deMasi conservatively estimated damage to the home, built 11 years ago, at $250,000.
No one was injured in the fire, but Allsup’s Dachshund dog ran off and has not been seen since. Allsup is reportedly staying with friends.