Appearances can be deceiving: A person walking away from a residence soon to be engulfed in flames does not necessarily equal “suspect of arson.”
Just after sunrise on Oct. 7, a residential structure fire was reported in the 3000 block of Stevens Road in the Verde Lakes area of Camp Verde.
Copper Canyon Fire and Medical Authority responded and suppressed the fire in under an hour, but not before the single-story mobile home and two vehicles were destroyed.
The home’s two occupants exited the structure safely. “[Based on] initial information, which was received from witnesses, it was believed that the fire was started by someone seen leaving the area just prior to the discovery of the fire,” the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office initially reported on Monday, Oct. 9.
According to CVMO, fire/arson investigators from Sedona Fire District were called in to assist in the investigation.
“Based upon their investigation, the cause and origin of the fire was undetermined,” CVMO stated.
CCFMA Fire Chief Terry Keller also confirmed this detail. “A person of interest was contacted and interviewed, and as of this time, the investigation is still ongoing.”
CVMO Cmdr. Brian Armstrong clarified Friday, Oct. 13, however, that the fire appears to have been unintended, caused by “carelessness on the [occupants’] part.” As to that person leaving the area prior to the discovery of the fire, Armstrong said that one of the home’s occupants appears to have left to walk a dog.
Additionally, both homeowners reported to CVMO that the fire was accidental. According to Armstrong, the case will likely be closed as an accidental fire.