Owner of gutted Anthem home no stranger to police

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
Crews spent Monday morning battling a first-alarm house fire in Anthem. By Catherine Holland Crews spent Monday morning battling a first-alarm house fire in Anthem. By Catherine Holland
Crews spent Monday morning battling a first-alarm house fire in Anthem. By Catherine Holland Crews spent Monday morning battling a first-alarm house fire in Anthem. By Catherine Holland
Crews spent Monday morning battling a first-alarm house fire in Anthem. By Catherine Holland Crews spent Monday morning battling a first-alarm house fire in Anthem. By Catherine Holland
Crews spent Monday morning battling a first-alarm house fire in Anthem. By Catherine Holland Crews spent Monday morning battling a first-alarm house fire in Anthem. By Catherine Holland

ANTHEM -- The owner of an Anthem home gutted by fire Monday morning is no stranger to the Phoenix Police Department.

The Phoenix police SWAT team served a search warrant at the home off of Interstate 17 near Anthem Way just two months ago.

"We ended up making eight arrests out of that house," said Detective James Holmes of the Phoenix Police Department. "All of them were drug-related and they were also document-crimes related -- forgery, fraud schemes and things of that nature."

The homeowner, Todd Weiss, was among those arrested. He would not comment on that case, which is still pending.

Sheriff's deputies and fire investigators are looking into Monday morning's fire. It's not clear if the fire and Weiss' February arrest are connected.

First report: Candle possibly to blame for first-alarm house fire in Anthem

ANTHEM -- Crews spent Monday morning battling a first-alarm house fire in Anthem.

The call first came in at about 5:30 a.m. Smoke was pouring off the home near Interstate 17 and Anthem Way.

Aerial video showed huge flames shooting from the roof.

The homeowner said power to the home was turned off and that the a candle he was burning might have touched off the flames. He was already safely outside the house when fire crews arrived and on the scene.

The fire started on the second floor, but spread downward, making it very difficult -- and dangerous -- for firefighters, said Capt. Dave Wilson of the Daisy Mountain Fire Department.

"They worked on it about five or 10 minutes when they realized the fire had crept underneath them," Wilson explained. "We didn't have a good way to fight the fire from the upstairs because we had no floor, no base in the floor."

The situation became so dangerous that firefighters had to pull out for their own safety.

The fire was big enough that the decision was made to balance it to a first alarm in an effort to keep the flames from spreading to neighboring homes.

"A first alarm is basically a lot of fire trucks," Wilson said. "We've got probably 10 engines and one ladder here right now. ... We accept that we're probably going to lose that one house, but we don't want to lose any more."

While no injuries were reported, the house was destroyed.

An investigation is under way.