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June 14, 2012

Poplar St. fire treated as arson

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff writer

A fire at a Poplar Street duplex earlier this month is now being investigated as arson by Corbin Police.

The decision came after the State Fire Marshal came to investigate the site of the fire with Corbin Fire Chief Barry McDonald. That visit happened on June 4, a day after the fire occurred at 2:12 p.m. on Sunday, June 3. The duplex is located at 1012-B Poplar Street.

“We went down to the scene, and the fire marshal got some samples to get evaluated, to see if there was an accelerant. The fire marshal gave me a can with the samples, and I gave that to Detective Hedrick for him to send on to the crime lab in Frankfort for analysis,” McDonald said Wednesday.

Det. Rusty Hedrick, who was promoted to the rank of sergeant by Corbin Police this past Monday, said, “The fire marshal deemed it as arson, and we’re investigating it as an arson. We’re waiting for the results. It could take a couple of months to get those results back.”

According to the Corbin Fire Department, crews were called to the June 3 fire after they were paged on a report of smoke coming from the roof of the duplex, which was under construction. Crews arrived at the duplex a minute after they got the alarm at 2:12 p.m., and found light smoke coming from the roof and vents of the duplex. Firefighters got in through the front door and located the fire in the basement crawl space. After the fire was extinguished, crews set up ventilation units, while standing by to make sure the blaze was out. In addition, they advised the maintenance man at the scene to secure the building and returned to the station at 3:56 p.m.

Corbin fire personnel listed the owner of the duplex as Betty Sue Surmont, of 1419 Sherwood Drive in Corbin. The building is a two-story structure with a basement, and fire department records estimated the damage at $25,000 for property and $2000 for the contents of the building.

While the fire is being treated as an arson by police, McDonald added the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time.

Hedrick said the Poplar Street fire is the fourth arson case police have dealt with during the last three months, adding, “One of the earlier suspicious fires happened on March 27th, at a house on 325 Hatfield Street. That too is under investigation.”

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