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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Fire’s ‘suspicious origin’ still under investigation

September 13th, 2011 10:16 pm by John Thompson

ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton Fire Department is investigating the cause of a Sunday afternoon fire in the Blackbottom community.
“It appears to be of suspicious origin, it is under investigation and the fire marshal is still working on it heavily,” Fire Chief Barry Carrier said Tuesday.
“I don’t want to go into too much detail because it is still being investigated, but there were signs of accelerants,” Carrier said. Materials from the house were sent for a lab analysis and the results are not back yet.
Carrier said the house at 705 Hemlock St. has been unoccupied for several years. He said the past owner died about eight years ago and the remaining family members live in Virginia. The fire department identified the owner as Sal Palumbo on the fire report, but did not have an address for him.
“We understand the house has been broken into several times,” Carrier said. Firefighters found a back door had been pried open and was standing open when they arrived, allowing for more ventilation for the fire.
Firefighters said smoke and flames were visible when they arrived on the scene. The firefighters attacked the fire from two sides of the house. One team was near the carport and extinguished a fire coming from a vehicle there. They then entered the house through the open door underneath the carport and extinguished the fire inside. They then looked for hot spots using the thermal imaging camera.
Two rooms sustained fire damage while the rest of the house had smoke damage.
There were no injuries reported in the fire.

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