03/29/12 — Dudley fires deemed suspicious

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Dudley fires deemed suspicious

By Gary Popp
Published in News on March 29, 2012 1:46 PM

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Firefighters from the Mar-Mac, Dudley and Thoroughfare volunteer fire departments responded to a house fire this morning at 527 Durham Lake Road. The fire, one of two that took place along the southern Wayne highway since midnight, is being investigated by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

DUDLEY -- Two fires on Durham Lake Road this morning are being treated as suspicious in nature, investigators say.

A double-wide trailer at 765 Durham Lake Road was destroyed by fire about 12:30 a.m.

A second home, at 527 Durham Lake Road, a wood-frame, single-story house, went up in flames around 7 a.m. Officials say it is possible the home could be salvaged.

Members of Wayne County Sheriff's Office and the Wayne County Office of Emergency Services are investigating the cause of both fires this morning.

Both houses were vacant and empty, except for a few appliances, said Mar-Mac Fire Chief Bill Harrell.

He said it is too soon to determine if the fires are connected, but the uncertainty surrounding the fires led firefighters to contact investigators.

"The back door was open to the second house, somebody was bound to be in there," Harrell said. "Somebody was using it, I would think."

He said that both homes were without electricity, in relatively good condition, and had no known residents.

"There is 99.9 percent they would not have gone up on their own," he said. "But you just don't know for sure."

Harrell said it appeared a significant amount of accelerant was present at the first fire. He said the substance re-ignited after three Mar-Mac firefighters entered the home.

The flare up spread to an area that blocked the firefighters from exiting the way they entered.

The firefighters were forced to break a window to get out.

"It was not life-threatening, but if they had gone out the way they had come in, they would have got burned," Harrell said. "They did what we train to do and what they were supposed to do."

Firefighter D.J. Kennedy was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released.