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ROCKY POINT NOW AN ASHY HEAP

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The landmark Rocky Point, a former restaurant and haunted house that was perched on a hillside above U.S. 89, burned to the ground over the weekend.

Scott Crabtree, the owner who lived in a second-floor apartment, was not injured in the fire that consumed his massive rock building Saturday night, said Don Bateman, Weber Fire District battalion chief.Destroyed in the blaze was Crabtree's vast collection of sculptures and furniture he had made from salvaged materials.

The 72-year-old Crabtree said he tried to save some of his art, but officers restrained him, eventually handcuffing him to keep him away from the flames.

"They threw me to the ground," Crabtree said.

Flames could be seen from I-15, which parallels U.S. 89, and the smoke was visible from Ogden six miles to the south.

Bateman said the building was in flames when firefighters and six engines responded at about 9 p.m.

Crabtree often rented out the building for parties, and it was partygoers who first saw flames from the attic after the power went out. They attempted to douse the flames and then fled and called firefighters, Bateman said.

Firefighters used ladders to reach the building on its east side but were called off minutes before that part of the roof collapsed, Bateman said.

The building held some dynamite and propane tanks, so firefighters kept their distance while spraying water pumped from a hydrant up the steep gravel road to the building. The fire was finally doused about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, he said.

Crabtree started building Rocky Point in 1962, breaking rocks with a hammer to cover the exterior and lend the building its name.

He opened a popular restaurant for several years, but a fire in the late 1960s burned the roof and inside. It was vacant for 11 years and in the 1980s became home to a haunted house, run by two of Crabtree's six children.

In the past few years, Rocky Point had become a museum for his unique artwork and furniture. A sign inviting visitors proclaimed the building had "over two miles of rock walls" and was the world's largest building constructed primarily by one man.

It held, the sign said, "A thousand and one pieces of decor made from historical and cast-off items reflecting the heritage of the past."

"He had some beautiful work in there," Bateman said. "It was like a museum."

The state Fire Marshal's Office will investigate the cause of the blaze. Officials on Sunday suspected it was linked either to a fireplace or electrical wiring. It apparently started in an attic.

Authorities said Crabtree had been in dispute for years with local officials over code problems at Rocky Point, the site of several smaller fires since 1968. Crabtree was fined $1,200 by Weber County last April for allowing rubble to be dumped on the property.