Arson suspected as cause of July 25 house fire
COLUMBIA - The cause of a July 25 structure fire that was previously believed to have been started by a lightning strike is now under investigation again.
Fire crews put out a structure fire at a condemned house on Fourth Avenue off Providence Road in Columbia.
Reports show fire crews responded to the fire around 5:40 a.m. They also showed 12 units were dispatched to the scene.
The Columbia Fire Department confirmed the house was empty and no one was inside at the time of the fire.
The fire department estimated $20,000 in damages.
Columbia Fire Department investigators reviewed lightning strike data and found that the closest cloud-to-ground lightning strike occurred within just over a half mile from the house. Also, burn patterns and other evidence at the scene are not consistent with a lightning strike.
Investigators are reviewing surveillance video, conducting interviews and waiting on results of samples taken from the scene that are being evaluated for ignitable liquids.
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