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House fire’s origin still being probed

Jennifer Sprouse • Oct 9, 2012 at 10:21 PM

An investigation is continuing into a Jonesborough house fire that happened last month, which authorities said may have been caused by arson.

Around 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 28, the Jonesborough Fire Department responded to a house fire at 126 Boone St., directly across the street from their station, and were able to control the fire inside the house in about 45 minutes.

“Smoke was coming out of every crevice in it,” Fire Chief Phil Fritts said. “There (were) no flames showing, but smoke was coming out of about every crack in it.”

Fritts described the fire as a smoldering fire. He said after firefighters extinguished the fire, though, it appeared the fire had started in the home’s stairwell and that the residents, Lori Starnes and Diana Kuehc, were not in the house at the time of the fire.

Fritts said the JFD’s investigation has concluded, but the police are still pursuing the cause of the fire.

Jonesborough Police Department Maj. Matt Rice said the probe remained active because multiple variables of the fire didn’t add up.

“There were locations that were suspicious by nature. We collected evidence from those locations and have currently sent that to the crime lab ... to be analyzed,” Rice said.

He said right now they will continue to interview witnesses who could include neighbors or people that may have been passing by the home when it ignited.

How the investigation will proceed after test results come back varies, Rice said.

“That’s one of those things that at this point I couldn’t say,” he said. “Still have quite a bit of legwork to do to even get close to that point.”

Anyone with information about the house fire or how it may have started is asked to call 753-1053.

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