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Chief: Altizer fire set to cover up burglary

Feb. 19, 2013 @ 11:52 AM

HUNTINGTON — Investigators believe somebody set fire to a house early morning Tuesday to hide their involvement in a burglary at the same residence, according to Huntington Fire Chief Carl Eastham.

Cabell County 911 received word of the fire at 4:28 a.m. Tuesday. It was located in the 4600 block of Altizer Avenue. No injuries were reported.

Huntington Deputy Fire Chief Jeffrey Earl said flames had engulfed the house by time firefighters arrived. They found a portion of it already collapsed, he said.

Eastham and Earl said nobody had been living at the home. Eastham estimates its last tenant had been evicted two weeks ago. Earl said the one-story residence was in the process of being remodeled.

Tuesday’s fire rendered the residence a total loss, Earl said.

Eastham declined specific comment about what ignited the fire, but said evidence found in the yard bolstered the investigators’ confidence as to motive. He explained the house still had some of its prior tenant’s belongings inside. Some were found in the yard.

Investigators are also leaning upon witness statements and surveillance video from the area, Eastham said. He added investigators are tracking leads concerning possible suspects, but no criminal charges had been filed as of late morning Tuesday.

Firefighters did not have any evidence to link the fire to other incidents, Eastham said.

The investigation is being held by the city’s fire marshal and its police detective bureau, Eastham said.

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