Arson 'still under active investigation'

Cary Ashby • Jul 23, 2019 at 10:00 PM

As the suspected arson at 29 Grand Ave. remains under investigation, authorities are pursuing some leads.

“We’ve received a few tips. It’s still under active investigation,” Norwalk Police Detective Sgt. Seth Fry said. “We’re still working it.”

The fire at the vacant and abandoned home happened about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Nearly a dozen firefighters arrived in five vehicles — including two engines and a ladder — and had the blaze under control between 15 and 20 minutes after they arrived. North Central EMS and three police officers also were at the scene.

An investigation is being conducted jointly by the state fire marshal’s office and the Norwalk police and fire departments. Anyone with information about the suspected arson is encouraged to call the state fire marshal’s tip line at 800-589-2728.

“No major updates on the fire as of now. We’re getting a couple tips, so we’re working with the police department on some follow-ups,” said Brian Bohnert, spokesman with the state fire marshal’s office. “It was an intentionally set fire.”

Firefighters have determined the blaze started in the back hallway near the kitchen. The crew met heavy smoke and fire upon entering the house.

“Upon arrival, there was heavy fire … coming through the whole back side of the house extending into the second floor,” Capt. Brett Beers said Wednesday at the scene.

The extensive damage was contained to the back of the house and second floor. No estimate has been given.

“There have been people in and out of there. … It’s been known as a house for vagrants,” Fry said.

A state investigator was at the scene about 2 1/2 hours Wednesday. Fry said Monday he hasn’t received a time line on the lab results, but noted after he receives them, that information will go to the Huron County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

“As leads come in, we will follow them,” the detective added.

The state fire marshal’s office is offering an award for information that may lead to a conviction or arrest. A sign is posted under one of the windows. 

“A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered by the Blue Ribbon Arson Committee for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the fire,” Bohnert said last week.

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