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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

Investigation underway after man's body found in basement of burning Price home

By Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

Published: Tue, July 29 8:00 p.m. MDT

 Price Fire Chief Paul Bedont, left, and deputy state fire marshal Troy Mills descend into the basement of a house at 423 S. 200 West in Price where a man's body was found Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Firefighters and police responded to the house about 11 a.m. after a caller reported the house was burning and someone was inside. Several people were taken into custody and search warrants were later executed at two houses.

Price Fire Chief Paul Bedont, left, and deputy state fire marshal Troy Mills descend into the basement of a house at 423 S. 200 West in Price where a man's body was found Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Firefighters and police responded to the house about 11 a.m. after a caller reported the house was burning and someone was inside. Several people were taken into custody and search warrants were later executed at two houses.

(Geoff Liesik, Deseret News)

PRICE — Authorities in Carbon County are investigating the death of a man whose body was found Tuesday in the basement of a burning house.

Firefighters were called to the house at 423 S. 200 West just before 11 a.m. after someone reported seeking smoke, said Price Police Capt. Bill Barnes. Firefighters were told that someone was possibly still inside the burning house, which neighbors described as a "drug house."

"At the time the situation was unknown, and it was such an active thing that we didn't know exactly what we had," Barnes said. "So for safety sake, officers approached first using due caution and were able to quickly take care of the situation and neutralize it."

Witnesses said police approached the house with guns drawn and cleared it before firefighters started working to put the fire out. The body of a man was discovered in the basement of the house by firefighters who were checking for hot spots, police said.

The victim's name is not being released, pending notification of his family. Barnes declined to comment on a possible cause of death.

"Everything is on the table right now," he said, noting that a determination will be made by the state Medical Examiner's Office after an autopsy is performed.

Officers took several people into custody at the fire scene and later executed search warrants at the house where the fire started and another house across the street, 432 S. 200 West.

"It is known that (two people) left the residence where the fire was at (and) made a brief stop at that residence (across the street)," Barnes said. "We believe there are forensic items at that location."

Barnes confirmed that the house that caught fire is known as a place where drug activity frequently takes place and officers have had numerous dealings with the people who live there.

"One of the people (taken into custody) had an extensive criminal history, including 41 arrests, 30 convictions, a lot of violence involved — it's astounding," the captain said.

Barnes said that man is in custody and being questioned by detectives along with several other people, but no one has been arrested at this time in connection with the death or the fire.

"If there are arrests made at this point, the basis for those arrests are outstanding warrants, Adult Probation & Parole 72-hour holds, those sorts of things," Barnes said.

Price police are being aided in their investigation by the Carbon County Sheriff's Office, the Carbon County Attorney's Office, the Price Fire Department, the Utah Fire Marshal's Office, Adult Probation & Parole, the Utah Attorney General's Office and forensics teams from the Utah State Crime Lab.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com, Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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1. MapleDon
Springville, UT,
July 30, 2014

"Witnesses said police approached the house with guns drawn and cleared it before firefighters started working to put the fire out. The body of a man was discovered in the basement..."

So did they check the body for bullet holes? Dead? No kidding. My only surprise was that they didn't send in the SWAT team to try out their latest weaponry. Think people, why did the police even need to approach the home? If they were so eager to "protect themselves", why didn't they just let it burn?

Thank goodness our police state provides protection for a police force oh so eager to exercise force.

2. Cleetorn
Fuaamotu, Tonga,
July 30, 2014

Think, MapleDon, it was a known drug house. But what they hay? Illegal drug users are just “normal” and law-abiding citizens who what to get high. Aren’t they? They would NEVER dream of having illegal weapons or offering any sort of resistance to police, fire or emergency personnel. It’s beyond imagination to think that they might resort to violence to “protect” their illegal interests. After all, it’s not like first responders have ever been ambushed and killed or anything like that. Right?

The force used was justified. No shots were fired so there weren’t bullet holes in anything as you insinuate. Law enforcement simply provided safety and protection for other responders. It was appropriate for the situation.

If a firefighter had been shot by a strung-out user, you would be demanding to know where the police were.

Get a grip, MapleDon.