An arrest by Salt Lake County Sheriff's deputies brought the house down over the weekend — or at least the ceiling.

While deputies were trying to arrest two wanted men hiding in an attic, the ceiling collapsed, sending two men and a police K9 dog tumbling to the ground eight feet below. A deputy was able to grab a support beam to prevent himself from falling.

"I've never seen anything like this. It was just incredible," said Salt Lake County Sheriff's deputy Shane Manwaring, who was part of the squad that entered the house as backup after the ceiling fell.

The men didn't just fall through a hole in the ceiling, but rather the entire ceiling collapsed, he said.

Early Sunday, detectives received information that a man wanted for investigation of drug distribution was at a house near 5600 West and 5300 South, Manwaring said. Deputies doing surveillance on the home were able to confirm the wanted man was inside.

As the deputies were waiting for backup officers to arrive, two men who walked out of the house through the back door were detained for questioning. Based on the information gathered from the detained men, deputies learned there were 20 to 30 more people in the house, Manwaring said, and the man they wanted was possibly armed with a Tech-9 handgun.

Additional backup from all over the valley, including other agencies, was called to the scene. Once the house was surrounded, a deputy pulled into the driveway with his patrol car and used the vehicle's public-address system to call to the people inside the house to come out one-by-one.

Nearly 30 people came out, but not the man they were originally looking for, Manwaring said. After numerous repeated warnings were issued to come out or they would send a police K9 dog in, deputies made good on their threat.

The dog cleared the entire house, with the exception of a crawl space in the attic, without finding the man. A deputy lifted the dog into the attic where he found two people hiding, including the wanted man.

The K9 dog tried dragging one of the people out and ended up tearing off his shoe, Manwaring said. The man also received several bite marks on the leg.

The second man tried to sink low into the insulation so as not to be seen, and he also tried to fight off the dog with his leg. A deputy told the man he would call the dog off if he crawled toward him, Manwaring said.

The man and the dog were in the process of returning to the handler when the entire roof gave way without warning. Both men and the dog dropped to the ground.

Kody Sinfield, 26, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of drug distribution and other warrants. The second man in the attic, Joshua Hartvixen, 23, was booked for investigation of assaulting a police dog and obstruction of justice.

The K9 dog was not seriously injured.

The men were not carrying weapons, but investigators later learned the handgun they were warned about was in a safe in another part of the house.


E-mail: [email protected]