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No signs of foul play in fatal Payson house fire, officials say

Rain falls as firefighters inspect the remains of a house fire in Payson on Monday, June 15, 2015.
Rain falls as firefighters inspect the remains of a house fire in Payson on Monday, June 15, 2015.
Chris Samuels, Deseret News

PAYSON — Investigators Tuesday were still working to identify the cause of a blaze that killed one man in his Payson home, but no signs of foul play were immediately apparent, officials said.

James McKinley, 65, was killed in the fire that was reported about 3 p.m. at 600 Peteetnees Blvd., said his fiancee, Shauna Riley.

The fire also torched the main living area of the home and caused more than $100,000 in damage, said Payson Fire Chief Scott Spencer.

Riley and two others, a husband and wife who were friends with McKinley, also live in the home. They were temporarily displaced by the fire.

Payson police obtained a search warrant to enter the home Monday evening, but investigators so far haven't discovered any indicators of foul play. The home sat empty and boarded up Tuesday.

"We continue to believe there’s nothing suspicious about it," but the investigation is not complete, Payson Police Lt. Bill Wright said.

An autopsy on McKinley is underway, as is a further forensic examination of what may have led to the fire, Wright said.

Several oxygen bottles found both inside and outside the home accelerated the fire, according to Scott. The bottles were regularly stored on the patio, he said.