Police investigating house fire as arson
By Kristen Swing
A house fire just across the street from the Jonesborough Fire Department late last month is being considered an act of arson and remains under investigation by the Jonesborough Police Department.
“We do have what we would classify as an arson,” said Maj. Matt Rice. “We have sent everything to a crime lab. We are in the process of interviewing people and clearing suspects.”
According to Fire Chief Phil Fritts, the fire department was called out to 126 Boone St., just before 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 28.
“When we arrived, there was heavy smoke coming out of the house all over,” Fritts said. “We made forcible entry and found heavy fire in the stairwell going up to the second floor.”
According to Fritts, that fire spread to the space between the first floor ceiling and the upstairs floor, slowly burning through floor joists located there.
The homeowners, Lori Starnes and Diana Kuehc, were not home at the time of the fire.
Firefighters had the fire under control in 45 minutes. They did not immediately find any type of accelerant at the scene, but sent things off for further testing.
Despite the lack of an obvious accelerant, Rice said there is enough evidence to indicate the fire was intentionally set. The fire’s point of origin, for example, was not near any electricity source or place of potential spontaneous combustion like a stove, he said.
As of Oct. 8, authorities were continuing to gather evidence and take statements related to the house fire.