Arson suspected in Berry's house fire

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:51 PM

It's been three months to the day since a fire gutted Doug Berry's home. And authorities continue to investigate the May 7 blaze at 131 E. Main St.

Norwalk Police Detective Sgt. Jim Fulton said arson is the suspected cause.

"That has yet to be determined. That's still under investigation," he added.

Although Fulton has interviewed more than five people two of them more than once the detective remains mum if those interviews have led to identifying possible suspects. Fulton also declined to say why two people were interviewed multiple times.

"At this point, I'm waiting for information from a couple different sources lab reports and that sort of thing," the detective said.

Fulton has received a report from the state fire marshal's office, but said he can't disclose its contents. "I haven't talked to them since receiving the report," he said.

Fire marshal spokesman Shane Cartmill had little new information Monday, but noted the ongoing probe "is down to one investigator."

"They would not give me any other information than that," Cartmill said. "I assume there is a reason for that."

Berry was at work when the fire started, shortly before midnight May 7. Flames were coming out of the first floor windows on the west and rear side of the historical home when Norwalk firefighters responded to a 9-1-1 call from one of Berry's neighbors.

Fire Capt. Tom Frey, in his report, wrote that firefighters "launched an aggressive attack" on the blaze that had moved into the walls, stairways and eventually the second floor.

Firefighters had the fire under control in less than an hour. They returned several hours later to extinguish flames that rekindled above the kitchen and went into the attic.

The blaze, that started on the west side living room, gutted the home built in 1878. Berry, who couldn't be reached for comment, has lived there for about 20 years. The Berry's Restaurant owner, who has said he remains hopeful it will be salvaged, bought the home from Sharon and Dan Rood in 1990 for $83,500.

The county valued Berry's home at $229,000 at the time of the fire. It was considered a total loss.

Fulton said it appears workers have begun repairs and renovations.

"I know they've been in there. The insurance company was going to pay on the claim," the detective added.

Anyone with information about the fire is encouraged to call the Norwalk Police Department at (419) 663-6780.

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