‘Suspicious’ fire destroys 2 trailers, pickup truck on Arizona Strip

Mohave County Sheriff's deputies and St. George firefighters respond to fire on the Arizona Strip, Mohave County, Ariz., May 28, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in the search for two individuals involved in a domestic disturbance that evolved into a fire in Mohave County, Arizona, Monday.

Shortly after 10:30 p.m. MST, deputies were dispatched to a fire reported on the Arizona Strip, approximately 2 miles southeast of St. George.

Torched debris is scattered after a fire near the Arizona Strip, Mohave County, Ariz., May 30, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The 911 caller, later identified as Sarah Crites, told emergency dispatch that she was fighting with her boyfriend who reportedly “set her trailer on fire,” officials said in a statement released by the Sheriff’s Office Wednesday.

The St. George Fire Department was also dispatched to the area after “multiple calls to 911 from motorists on I-15 reported what they thought was a brush fire out on the strip,” Chief Robert Stoker said.

Deputies could see flames coming from one of the trailers, as well as from a pickup truck that appeared to have crashed into the trailer before the fire started.

Mohave County Sheriff’s deputies are searching for Sarah Crites after a fire was reported in the area of the Arizona Strip, Mohave County, Ariz., May 28, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The blaze spread quickly, carried by high winds reported in the area, to a nearby trailer, the statement said.

Firefighters arrived began battling the fully-involved blaze using water shuttled from a fire hydrant located a few miles away on River Road in St. George.

“There’s nothing out there, so we had to shuttle water using three of our brush trucks, which took some time,” Stoker said.

After three hours the fire was extinguished, leaving both trailers and the truck destroyed.

Deputies were unable to locate Crites or the potential suspect, later identified as Scott Farnsworth, during a search of the area.

Police found a broken cell phone approximately 100 yards south of the fire, and its battery nearby.

Mohave County Sheriff’s deputies are searching for Scott Farnsworth after a fire was reported in the area of the Arizona Strip, Mohave County, Ariz., May 28, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Deputies continued the search and after obtaining information listed on the couple’s driver’s licenses, police were unable to locate either individual at the address listed.

According to the statement, Crites and Farnsworth are possibly living as transients on public lands.

It appeared to investigators that the fire may have started when the truck crashed into the trailer, however, the official cause is undetermined, according to the statement.

Police are asking for the public’s help in locating Crites and Farnsworth “for their safety.”

Anyone with information on their whereabouts is encouraged to call the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office at 928-753-0753, or toll free at 800-522-4312.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact. 

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[Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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3 Comments

  • Jmfixitman May 30, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    It took a fire for the police to figure out there are transients living on public lands in the desert?…

  • Carpe Diem May 31, 2018 at 6:28 am

    The area off the Wolfhole road on the AZ side has become loaded with trailers, what the? Also on the cross over road from about Virgin to the Colorado City hwy. At least this Winter / Spring I’ve noticed a huge influx.

  • NZT June 1, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Based on the location, this incident happened on Arizona State Trust Lands. Arizona Trust Land is land managed by the Arizona State Land Department not the federal government.

    Arizona State Trust Land is not public land! A recreation permit is required to camp, hike or travel on Trust Land that is designated as open for recreation. Costs per year – Individual permit $15. Family permit – $20 A recreation permit is an agreement between you (the responsible casual user) and the Department, to allow limited recreational activities conditional on your continued responsible behavior (see terms and conditions).

    Here a couple of the terms and conditions that are commonly violated on the Arizona State Trust Lands south of St. George.
    5. All travel is restricted to existing roads and trails. A one time use or single set of tracks does not constitute a road or trail.
    9. You must completely remove all litter and refuse.
    10. Human waste shall be confined to a portable toilet or slit trench which will be covered to ground level upon closing camp. Waste from portable toilets shall be removed from site and disposed of properly.
    11. Recreational camping is limited to no more than 14 days per year. A campsite must be at least ¼ mile from any livestock or wildlife water catchments, tanks, drinkers, etc. Abandoned campsites are to be left clean.
    12. Campfires are to be thoroughly extinguished. You are required to comply with any campfire restrictions that may be in effect.

    Law enforcement agencies from the state of Arizona and Mohave County have jurisdiction on Arizona State trust land and are solely responsible for the enforcement of applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

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