Early morning layton house fire called suspicious

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Loretta Park

LAYTON — Officials from the Layton fire and police departments spent Monday investigating a suspicious fire that caused about $80,000 worth of damage to a home and shed.

The fire appears to have been started in two locations, said Doug Bitton, fire prevention specialist and public information officer with Layton Fire Department.

Investigators located an area inside the home at 239 W. Barbara St., Layton, where one fire may have been started, as well as an area inside a shed behind the house where another fire may have started.

Bitton said the state fire marshal brought along a K-9 named Cindy, but the dog did not find any evidence of ignitable liquid inside the home. However, the dog did indicate that some type of ignitable liquid had been used near a bush in front of the home. Neighbors told investigators they had extinguished an unreported small fire at that spot about six weeks ago.

A neighbor called in Monday’s fire to 911 at 1:30 a.m., after seeing a large black column of smoke coming out of the house, Bitton said.

“When crews got there, flames were shooting out of the roof,” he said.

No one was inside the home, but crews rescued four cats. One cat suffered minor burn injuries.

Zoe, a 2-year-old gray cat, was being treated at a local veterinarian.

“Her lungs are clear, so she’ll be OK,” the homeowner said.

The homeowner, a 74-year-old woman, declined to give her name for fear of retaliation.

She said this is not the first time someone has tried to damage the home.

Her son, who is 53, was arrested about two weeks ago for failing to register as a sex offender. He had been convicted in 2001 for third-degree felony, unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old.

He had been living in the shed behind the home, the woman said. He was supposed to be released from jail Friday, but because paperwork was not processed, he remained in jail.

“My son could’ve been asleep in there,” the woman said as she looked at the burned home behind the yellow tape.

The woman said she got a voice message at 2 a.m. from a friend telling her about the house fire.

The woman said there had been another unreported fire started several months ago inside the home’s bathroom sink. It damaged the sink, but did not do any damage to the home.

Vandalism occurred inside the home last summer, she said.

“Someone went inside and broke all the mirrors, punched holes in the walls and doors,” she said.

When she saw it, she told her son she wanted to report it to police, but he asked her not to.

The woman said she had an appointment with a contractor for Monday to discuss plans to fix up the home.

Anyone who has information can call police or firefighters at 801-497-8300.

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