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Front Page » July 31, 2014 » Carbon County News » Intense investigation of fire, death
Published 81 days ago

Intense investigation of fire, death


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By JOHN SERFUSTINI
Sun Advocate editor emeritus

Fire fighting delayed as police check threat of gunman in burning house

Two men and a woman were being held Wednesday pending an investigation of a suspicious house fire in Price where fire fighters discovered the body of a 32-year-old man Tuesday morning.

Price Police Capt. Bill Barnes said investigators were awaiting an autopsy report on the victim, Brian William Swink, whose last known address was Helper.

Swink had a criminal history dating back to 1999, with convictions including first degree felony aggravated robbery and drug possession.

The Sun Advocate has learned from unofficial sources the identities of the persons being held at the county jail. However, this newspaper does not publish names until they are officially arrested and booked and become public record.

The State Medical Examiner, the State Fire Marshal, state and local crime scene investigators and detectives are sifting through evidence collected in and near the house at 423 S. 200 West. "It's a jigsaw puzzle and we are working to see how all the pieces fit," Barnes said.

There were still many more questions than answers Wednesday. "What was the cause of death? Did [Swink] die before or after the fire started? That's important," Barnes explained.

The Utah Attorney General's Office lent its 360-degree crime scene camera to investigators. This camera can sweep a full circle of a room in one photo giving a visual record for analysis and evidence, the captain said.

The fire was reported shortly before 11 a.m. Officers from Price and other agencies swarmed to the house and surrounded it, sidearms drawn. They had been informed that an armed person was hiding inside, a potential threat to fire fighters. The information, though incorrect, produced a delay. City fire fighters with backup from Wellington had to stand by and watch smoke billow from the home for about a half hour until given the all clear.

They had their hoses and equipment ready, so when they received the go-ahead they attacked the blaze quickly. One team entered the home, a second team climbed to the rooftop, chopped a hole and began dousing the fire from above.

Investigators, assisted on-site by the Sheriff's Department mobile command center, began combing through the scene shortly after the fire was extinguished.

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