Fire damages home in historic district

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Staff Report

The second reported fire at the same address in five days, a West Washington Street blaze that started on the porch caused only minor damage on Sunday.

A department incident report credits the &uot;keen eye of firefighters&uot; for the quick response to the residence. No one was injured.

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While responding to a medical call shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday, the crew of Engine Company 2 noticed an unusual level of smoke in the 100 block of Pender Street. Upon diverting from the medical call, the found the fire at 500 West Washington Street, and requested a full-structural alarm.

Flames had burned through the front porch floor. With the aid of a thermal imaging camera, firefighters determined that the exterior wall temperature had reached 300 degrees. Using axes and chain saws, the wall was opened, which extinguished the fire

before reaching the interior of the two-story frame.

According to Capt. Arthur Barrett, the fire had been set on the right hand side of the front porch, completely burned away a section of the floor, and extended into the outside wall near a fireplace.

Damage was reported at $5,000, according to fire officials.

No further information about the origin or materials used to start the fire was released because of the on-going investigation. On the afternoon of Nov. 16, Barrett added, police officers responded to a citizen report that two juveniles had set fire to leaves in the yard. No suspects were apprehended in that incident.

The Fire Prevention Office is seeking the public’s help in locating the individual(s) responsible for setting Sunday’s fire.

Anyone with knowledge of this and/or other fires should call 923-4785. If the tip leads to an arrest and conviction, an award of up to $1,000 could be earned.