Arson reward offered; investigation continues

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Authorities continued the investigation of a fire that destroyed a house at 928 South First Ave. Saturday. The burn pattern indicates that it was an arson with some type of accelerant. Investigators took samples from the scene and placed a poster that offers a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of suspects.

Albert Lea Fire Department Arson Investigator Doug Johnson, who worked with an officer from the state fire marshal’s office on the scene, sent samples to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension laboratory to see if any accelerant can be spotted.

According to Johnson, the house was empty around the time of fire. Gas and electricity supplies have been cut off since March, when the owner moved out. The property was in the process of being sold, but the new owners’ definite moving-in date had not been determined yet.

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The blaze, spotted by an Albert Lea Police Department officer around 1:45 a.m. Saturday, resulted in a total loss of the residence. It started apparently from the main floor, where the damage was most severe, and the basement was inflicted by smoke and water damage.

According to the preliminary investigation, Johnson said, there was no sign of forced entry.

The reward was offered by the International Association of Arson Investigators.