The Portsmouth Fire Department is following leads in their investigation of a fire that completely destroyed a two-story house at 1534 10th St., in Portsmouth, directly behind the Central Fire Station.
Portsmouth Fire Chief Bill Raison said the fire was started at 9:59 p.m. Sunday.
“The cause is under investigation, but it appears to be an intentionally set fire,” Raison said. “No one has been arrested in connection with it, but we have some leads that we’re following.”
Raison said the house was vacant at the time the fire broke out.
“It was heavily involved with fire,” Raison said. “In fact, the way we discovered it was when one of the guys walked out the back of the (Central Fire) Station and looked across the street. We hadn’t even received any calls on it. “
If the house was vacant, how did the fire start?
“Apparently someone had been staying there, but it’s my understanding they were just squatters, they weren’t actually supposed to be living there,” Raison said.
Rumors that a man had been chasing a woman around attempting to set her on fire, turned out to be just that, rumors.
“Our guys didn’t tell me that and they would have said something about it when they called me,” Raison said.
According to reports from the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office, 8,377 arson fires—including structures, vehicles and other fires —occurred in 2012. Reports show 235 civilian and 421 firefighter injuries, along with 74 civilian deaths, are attributed to arson fires in Ohio. Arson losses totaled $161.2 million in Ohio during 2012.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.