WILLARD -- Police are treating a fire as a possible homicide after a body was found in the ruins after the fire was put out.
The fire was reported around 3 a.m. Thursday at 103 E. 100 North. After the blaze was extinguished a few hours later, fire marshals discovered a body.
Positive identification of the victim had not been made, according to a news release from the Box Elder County Sheriff's Office.
Police arrested Jeremy Lankford, 28, in connection with the fire.
Friday evening, Perry Police Chief Dale Weese said he was misunderstood in an earlier interview regarding whether Lankford was the brother of the deceased. That has not been determined because the deceased has not been identified, he said.
Weese said the misunderstanding was likely because his department had assisted Willard police on a call of two brothers fighting at the same address two hours before the fire.
Lankford was arrested at the scene at 6 a.m. Thursday, for interfering with the investigation, police said. He had locked himself in a truck and resisted arrest. Officers had to break the truck's windows to get him out of the vehicle.
"He was apparently despondent," Weese said.
The fire scene is being treated as a crime scene as is normal protocol when a body is discovered.
A Perry officer was the first officer on the fire scene Thursday, because the Willard force did not have an officer on duty at 3 a.m. Weese said his officer who responded, Sgt. Scott Hancey, had to be treated at the scene for smoke inhalation after he tried to enter the burning home. Hancey was also the officer assisting Willard at the earlier disturbance call.
Willard Police Chief Nate Thompson in limited remarks would not comment on the prior disturbance call but is calling the death "suspicious."
Lankford was arrested on suspicion of obstruction of justice for allegedly refusing to give officers his name, said Box Elder County Attorney Steve Hadfield.
If the case does become a homicide, it would be the first for Hadfield to file since he took office in January 2007, he said.
"But no one's calling it a homicide at this point," Hadfield said at 3 p.m. Friday, noting officials were still waiting on the results of the autopsy.
The incident is under investigation by the Willard Police Department and the Utah State Fire Marshal.