Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Fire at empty Old Town house investigated

Fire investigators are waiting on lab results before releasing the suspected cause of a fire that damaged a Key West conch-style home late Tuesday.

Firefighters responded to 319 Grinnell St. at 11 p.m. and knocked the blaze down in minutes, said Key West Fire Marshal Danny Blanco.

It looked like it started in a front bedroom of the two-story home at the corner of Grinnell and James streets that is being renovated, Blanco said.

Apparently no one was inside the house when the fire started, but the cause remains under investigation, said city of Key West spokeswoman Alyson Crean.

The fire was small and the estimated damage was lower than it would have been had the house been finished and furnished, Blanco said.

The house was set up with temporary electric lines so workers could use power tools, but no permanent sockets like in a finished home, he added.

"Those lines were temporary and there was no (electric lines) near where the fire started or tools left plugged in or things like that," Blanco said.

Nor was there any evidence that vagrants were squatting in the unfinished home.

"None of the beer bottles or other trash that we typically see with that," Blanco said.

Investigators sent some pieces of the burnt house to a lab for testing to detect if an accelerant, such as gasoline, was used.

Those results will determine whether it was arson.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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