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Arson strikes twice at abandoned home in Clinton

An abandoned home burns in Clinton on Monday night. The fire was intentionally set twice, officials say.   - Chuck O’Connor photo
An abandoned home burns in Clinton on Monday night. The fire was intentionally set twice, officials say.
— image credit: Chuck O’Connor photo

Two arson fires in the same abandoned and ramshackle building in Clinton kept local firefighters busy Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

“There were two fires, and they were intentionally set,” Island County Fire

District 3 Chef Rusty Palmer said Tuesday morning. “We’re investigating.”

The building, described as a small wood structure, was at the corner of Campbell Road and Wintergreen Drive. There were no injuries, Palmer said.

He said the structure appeared to be an abandoned residence that had already partially collapsed.

“As far as we know, no one had lived there for 10 years,” he said.

Palmer said 10 firefighters responded to the first call about 9 p.m. and spent about an hour putting out the fire.

The second fire occurred about 1 a.m., and about 20 firefighters worked for nearly four hours making sure the fire was out, he said.

No other homes were close the site, and none were threatened by the fire, Palmer said.

More than a half-dozen firefighting vehicles were on the scene, officials said.

Chuck O’Connor, who lives about a mile from the site of the fire, said he heard both calls on his emergency services monitor and rushed to the scene with his digital camera.

O’Connor said that at one point the flames were about 20 feet in the air, and the heat was intense until firefighters got the blaze under control.

“It appeared to be an old rustic-type cabin,” O’Connor said. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was a shack, but it looked like one when it was burning.”

He said some brush was burned in the area near the fire, but that he saw no trees ignite.

Palmer said officials are still trying to determine who owned the building. He said no suspicious persons were observed by firefighters as they battled the blazes.

“It happened in the middle of the night,” the chief said. “That’s the way it is with crimes of stealth — the cover of darkness is what those folks use.”

Anyone with information about the fires can call the fire district at 321-1533.

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