When fire crews arrived on the scene of a fire at a two-story house on Saltonstall Street last month, they immediately knew the structure was a total loss, said Canandaigua Fire Chief Mark Marentette.

"We were on scene in 90 seconds time from when the call came in," he said, of the fire Dec. 22 at 41 Saltonstall St. "There was no saving the building at that time."

Marentette said it is rare that his department responds to a fire at a structure that can't be saved, and, this time, crews handled the fire differently.

"Due to the volume of the fire on arrival, we treated it as a suspicious fire as soon as we arrived on scene," he said. "Every effort was made to preserve as much of the building as we could."

The fire was investigated by the fire department, the City of Canandaigua Police Department and the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

On Wednesday, police announced that three people have been charged with third-degree arson in connection with the fire. Charged were: Shallamar L. Hayward-Crawford, 29, and Samuel F. Crawford, 33, both of 2110 state Route 21, Canandaigua, and William Bradley Jr., 21, of 3773 Route 247, Canandaigua.

Police allege the three suspects conspired to and then intentionally set fire to the house at about 1:45 a.m. Dec. 22. As a result, the structure was deemed a total loss, and two adjacent homes were damaged, police said.

Marentette said crews from the Canandaigua, Canandaigua Veterans Affairs, Crystal Beach and Cheshire fire departments — along with the Canandaigua Emergency Squad and city police — responded to the fire at the house, which was a rental property and was not occupied at the time.

Police allege Hayward-Crawford and Crawford — who are married and are the owners of the residence — committed the arson in an effort to receive proceeds from their insurance company.

According to Sgt. Scott Kadien, the couple allegedly approached Bradley, who was an acquaintance, and asked him to help with the arson. They allegedly agreed to pay Bradley, said Kadien, who did not disclose the amount.

Kadien said the fire started inside the house.

"They started it by the furnace with the intent being to make us believe it was an accidental fire," he said.

Marentette said that when fire crews arrived on the scene, rather than allowing the house to collapse on itself, their goal was to keep the scene as intact as possible. This included extinguishing the fire with as little water as possible, he said.

"Arson is one of the most difficult crimes to make an arrest," Marentette said. "The work the detectives did and the work the fire investigators did was top notch."

Kadien said there were "admissions made by all three suspects."

Hayward-Crawford and Crawford were charged Tuesday and sent to the Ontario County Jail, Hayward-Crawford on $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond, and Crawford without bail, police said. Bradley was charged Wednesday and sent to the jail on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond.

Kadien declined to comment on any criminal histories for the suspects, except to say that none of them have any convictions for arson-related offenses and that Crawford was on New York state parole for an unrelated offense.

Further charges are pending, police said.