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Bodies of couple found day after arson at their home

Sat., Aug. 16, 2014, midnight

The bodies of a retired Spokane dentist and his wife were found in their car Friday in Benewah County, Idaho, the day after an arson fire burned the couple’s Spokane Valley home.

A fire official suspects the couple set fire to their home after surveillance footage showed John R. Tiffany, 76, buying cans of gasoline a couple of hours before the blaze at 1519 S. Bettman Road. Tiffany and his wife, Sandra E. Tiffany, 68, were reported missing by their son. The bodies were discovered inside the couple’s white Kia at a private family cemetery.

A neighbor reported an explosion and fire at the home about 3:40 p.m. He tried to fight the basement fire with a garden hose, said Bill Clifford, Spokane Valley Fire Department assistant fire marshal.

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.

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” a couple of hours before the fire, Clifford said. The video showed John Tiffany putting the gas into carrying cans, several of which were found in the home.

“We don’t know any additional information,” Clifford said.

Clifford said the bodies were found between Plummer and St. Maries.

John Tiffany owned a dental practice on Sprague Avenue in downtown Spokane until 2011. A year later, the couple started J.T. Internet Sales LLC out of their home.


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