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franklin county times

Arsons solved

By Staff
TOTAL LOSS  Fire destroyed this house at 29th Avenue and Ninth Street early this morning, the 10th fire in an unoccupied dwelling since December. Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
March 1, 2001
Meridian's police and fire chiefs confirmed today a rash of recent arsons in vacant houses has been solved, but neither would provide any other information.
Fire Chief Bunky Partridge and Meridian Police Chief Gregg Lewis referred all questions to the Lauderdale County District Attorney's office.
District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell is out of town. Assistant District Attorney Lisa Howell said she knew of only a few details surrounding the cases, but could not confirm the arsons have been solved.
Howell said she knows of a suspect, but is unable to confirm with fire or police officials if the suspect is a target in the investigation.
Meanwhile, Partridge said an early morning fire today that destroyed a house at 2813 Ninth St. is under investigation. He said it was unrelated to the rash of arsons. Investigators are calling the fire "incendiary" instead of arson because the investigation is in its preliminary stages.
Firefighters were called to the scene shortly after 1 a.m. to find the house fully involved.
Firefighters worked to contain the blaze to the vacant structure and keep two nearby homes from burning. The home to the south was spared, but the home directly to the east was lightly damaged, Partridge said.
Partridge said the house, owned by Harry Nause, sustained fire damage in October when it was occupied. The house received moderate damage in that fire and has been unoccupied ever since, he said. The October fire was ruled accidental, Partridge said.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.