A quick moving two-alarm fire that consumed a Mesa del Caballo home Sunday morning is under investigation for being highly suspicious, officials say.
On Wednesday, a prominent Valley arson expert along with an arson K-9 from Globe visited what remained of the site-built home.
Officials won’t say what tipped them off, but after the fire was out, they found something that drew their suspicions.
The fire blew the windows out of several neighboring homes and one firefighter had to be treated for chest pains.
Neighbors reported the blaze just after 7:30 a.m., a half an hour after one neighbor said they had been outside and everything looked normal.
Seven minutes after getting the initial call, the first fire engine arrived on scene, but the home was already fully engulfed.
Neighbors said it was like an explosion had gone off, but they had not heard anything.
With the home clearly a loss, firefighters worked to keep the fire from spreading. The heat from the fire blew out the windows at two neighboring homes. Houston Mesa Fire Chief Mark Essary quickly called for more help. In all, five fire departments assisted on scene, including Payson, Hellsgate, Beaver Valley and Whispering Pines.
“We were worried those homes would catch,” he said.
Luckily, approximately an hour later, the fire was out.
A firefighter from Hellsgate was treated on scene for chest pains.
It is unclear where the fire started in the home, Essary said.
The couple that owns the home lives in the Valley. Their adult son was reportedly staying at the home, but had gone into town earlier in the morning to gamble at the casino and get gas for a chain saw.
He returned to the home as firefighters were working to extinguish the blaze.