Sheriff’s Dept. takes lead in arson probe

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department has taken over theinvestigation of a suspicious Tuesday night fire on F.E. SellersBoulevard in Monticello from the Monticello Fire Department.

Arson Investigator Ray Smith said it was common procedure whenarson is suspected. State Fire Investigator Jim Woodward is alsolooking into the fire.

The fire was deemed suspicious Tuesday when firefighters arrivedon the scene to find two separate areas of the home on fire.

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Bedrooms on opposite sides of the home were ablaze, said FireChief Wayne Harrison.

Smith said investigators are still trying to determine the causeof the fire.

“We know it wasn’t electrical from what we can tell, but littleelse at this time,” he said. “It doesn’t look like accelerants wereused.”

The suspicion of arson is based specifically upon two separateareas of the home burning at one time, Smith said.

The brick home, owned by Danny Evans Jr., is valued at $100,000.It sustained approximately $30,000 in damages, Harrison said.

Smith said he is also investigating a case of arson at 115 WaltMcNeese Road that occurred Monday morning. The cases are notbelieved to be related.

A mobile home owned by Tommy Kirkland was moved onto the siteabout a week ago, Smith said. The home had no utility hookups whenit burned.

“It burned completely,” he said. “All we have left on it is someashes and the tin roof, but we do know it was set.”

Kirkland is not a suspect in the case, Smith said.