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Missing couple presumed dead after arson fire

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 15, 2014, 5:57 p.m.

A couple discovered missing after an arson fire at their home in Spokane Valley Thursday afternoon are presumed dead after their car was found Friday in Benewah County with two bodies inside.

An explosion and fire was reported at the home of John and Sandy Tiffany at 1519 S. Bettman Road around 3:40 p.m. Thursday. A neighbor reported the fire and attempted to fight the basement fire with a garden hose, said Spokane Valley Fire Department assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford.

The fire was confined to the basement. Several doors were open when firefighters arrived, Clifford said. The department’s arson dog, Mako, indicated the use of accelerant in several places. “We worked there until 11:30 p.m. until flashlights were going out,” Clifford said. The home was secured overnight and the investigation continued Friday morning.

Investigators now believe one or both of the Tiffanys set the fire, Clifford said. “We have some surveillance footage of him buying gas at a gas station,” Clifford said. “This was a couple hours before the fire.” John Tiffany was putting the gas into carrying cans, several of which were found in the home.

The couple’s son filed a missing person’s report when the couple could not be located, which launched a search. Benewah County Sheriff’s Deputies found the couple’s white Kia on property they owned between Plummer and St. Maries, Clifford said. “We don’t know any additional information,” he said.

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