TOPSHAM — A Friday morning fire that leveled a Downing Road home remains under investigation, though authorities say the extent of the damage has thus far prevented them from determining what caused it and where it started.

By the time the fire was spotted by a passerby shortly before 11 a.m. on Friday, the one-story residence owned by Dustin and Eva Downing was fully engulfed in flames and near collapse.

By the time Topsham firefighters arrived at the scene, police said the home had collapsed and the fire had “nearly self-extinguished.”

State fire investigators were called to the scene, but due to the extent of the fire and the “consumption of combustible materials,” the origin and cause of the fire could not be readily determined.

Police said no one was home at the time of the fire and one of the homeowners left several hours before the fire was spotted.

According to police, the cause of the fire remains under investigation and anyone with information about it is urged to contact Det. Sgt. Michael LaCourse at 802-334-8881, or call the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program hotline at 1-800-32-ARSON (1-800-322-7766). The tip award program will pay up to a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

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