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Arson a possibility in suspicious house fire

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By Chris Sardelli

A few spots of melted wax and a suspicious blaze that burned the outside of a Lancaster home on Saturday, Feb. 22, have sheriff’s investigators looking at a possible arson. 

The investigation began after deputies were called at about 10 p.m. to a house fire in the 1000 block of Garnette St., according to a Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office incident report. 

The homeowner, a 67-year-old Lancaster man, told deputies he and his wife were asleep when they were woken up by their daughter who said there was smoke inside the home.

The homeowner searched the home and discovered smoke coming from the area of his basement. 

He then went outside to the exterior doors of the basement and saw a fire burning along the garage door leading to the basement and along a brick retaining wall, the report said. 

That’s when the man’s son arrived and together they noticed another small fire at the rear of a shop on the property, which is about 75 to 100 yards from the back of the home, the report said. 

The two men were able to extinguish both fires before deputies and firefighters arrived at the scene. 

Estimated damage to the home, including the garage door and shop wall, is $1,000, the report said. 

Deputies also noted in the report that the grass along the retaining wall and near the back of shop was burned and there was a strong odor of gasoline in both areas. 

During a search of the property, deputies found white melted wax on the ground, which had already hardened, about 10 to 15 yards from the back of the home, the report said. The residents told deputies they had never seen the wax before. 

Members of the Camp Creek volunteer fire department checked the home and shop for hot spots and they also ventilated the home due to heavy smoke and strong fumes from the gas, the report said. 

When deputies asked if the residents had any trouble with anyone, the homeowner said he had recently been hospitalized after a man assaulted him, though he didn’t know if the cases were related, the report said.

Sheriff’s Maj. Matt Shaw said no one has been charged or arrested in the case, and investigators had not gathered any new information as of Wednesday, Feb. 26.

“It’s still being called an arson,” Shaw said. “We haven’t been able to determine it was anything other than that and we haven’t found another explanation for the fire.”

If you know anything about the fires, please call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office’s non-emergency line at (803) 283-4136.

 

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli
at (803) 416-8416