courtesy of Willow Springs Fire Department

Hill St. fire was suspicious

A Willow Springs home burned to the ground Tuesday afternoon, and the fire is currently under investigation. 
“This house literally erupted into flames,” Willow Springs Fire Chief Vance Farmer told Howell County News. 
Willow Springs Fire Department was dispatched for the structure fire at 3:24 p.m., and both Willow Springs fire engines arrived on scene at 3:28 pm.
“Upon our arrival, the house was fully involved with fire and had already started collapsing,” Chief Farmer said. 
“A surveillance camera on a neighboring house picked up a loud explosion sound, followed by a plume of fire from a window on the north side of the residence at 3:20 p.m. Within minutes, the entire two-story home was fully engulfed. The cause of the explosion and the rapid spread of fire throughout the house is still undetermined but is currently under investigation by the fire marshal.”
The residence was deemed to be vacant when fire personnel arrived on scene, Farmer confirmed. The last tenants of the rental property, located at 125 Hill, are deceased. 
“As you know, I also work for the city electric department. On November 29, I disconnected the utilities for this house…I requested the Fire Marshal due to all utilities being disconnected to the residence and obvious signs of vandalism,” Chief Farmer said. 
Despite the vandalism and signs of foul play, no one was hurt in the fire. All firefighters walked away from the scene, and there was only one mild injury to report. 
“No human remains have been found in or around the residence at this time,” Chief Farmer confirmed. 
Because the fire was raging on arrival, the structure was too dangerous to enter.
“Every room and entryway was fully involved with fire. I gave strict instructions to all firefighters to stay at a safe distance and spray water from there to cool and contain the fire,” Farmer said. 
Personnel called a control time of 4:25 p.m., meaning the fire was no longer a threat to surrounding areas. 
As of press time, the investigation has not positively identified a suspect. However, Willow Springs Police Department did respond to a call reporting suspicious behavior on Hill St. on XXX, confirms Assistant Police Chief Alan Lewis.
Eleven Point Rural Fire District, Pomona, and Mountain View Fire Departments responded to this fire call. 
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Howell County News

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