A house fire on Garnett Ward Road recently is being investigated as a possible arson.
Madison County Sheriff’s deputy Kyle Roberts went to the scene of the house fire, where he met with firefighters from Neese-Sanford and Hull volunteer fire departments who told him that they suspected arson because there were fires in two different places inside the house.
Neese-Sanford fire commander Donald Dillenger said firefighters were able to save the home, limiting smoke and fire damage to the bedroom upstairs. The other fire was limited to the oven itself.
Officer Roberts spoke with the homeowner, who told him that he and his two children had stopped by the residence to get some clothes. He said when they entered the house it was cold and that he turned the stove on and he let the oven door to the stove down to try and warm the home. He said that the central unit would not come on, so he thought it might be broken. He said they were “hanging out” there for a while and as he began to gather the clothing, he heard a smoke detector go off upstairs. After hearing the detector, he tried to find which one it was so he could turn it off, thinking it was a false alarm. Once he entered the stairway, he said he saw smoke and began to panic, looking for the children. He found the 2-year-old standing in the bedroom next to a mattress that was on fire with smoke everywhere. He said he grabbed both kids and ran downstairs and out the front door. A car passing by stopped when they saw smoke coming from the house.
After looking over the house, firefighters determined there was a mattress fire upstairs, but they also located a second fire in the stove oven downstairs, that was not mentioned by the homeowner.
Fireman also reportedly had to open the front door forcibly with a tool because it was locked by both a key-type deadbolt and a regular lock. The homeowner denied knowing anything about the oven fire. Officer Roberts noted that there were a number of points where the homeowner’s story did not match up to the evidence found in the house. The fire marshal was called and the scene was secured for further investigation.
The man and two children were the only ones present at the time of the fire and they were unharmed. A mother and four other children were not at home.