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Crittenden house fire ruled ‘suspicious’

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Officials are calling a fire that nearly destroyed a house on Main Street in Crittenden as ‘suspicious.”

The fire, at a white frame house on the corner of Center and Main, started around 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 12.
Crittenden Fire Chief Lee Burton said the fire was called in by a passing motorist.

“When we arrived there was heavy fire and smoke billowing from the front two rooms as well as the covered porch,” Burton said. “The fire was traveling up into the eaves of the house.”

The home is owned by Mark Reisenbach. It was vacant at the time of the fire.

Burton said a limited amount of manpower, as well as heavy wind hampered firefighters.

The wind was of concern because of the house’s proximity to KOI Auto Parts, Melton Realty office and a large garage sitting behind the two-story white house.

Five departments, including Crittenden, Dry Ridge, Williamstown, Walton and Piner, battled the blaze for about three and a half hours.

Burton said the fire department “pretty much ruled out the home’s electrical appliances” as being a possible source for the fire.

“At this point the cause is still under investigation, so we’re calling it suspicious.” Burton said.

The State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating and planned to bring a canine to the site to check for accelerants.

Burton said his department initially responded with four firefighters, which quickly grew tired from the exertion.

One of the firefighters was treated at the scene for “excessive exertion.”

“When you first arrive at a scene it’s pedal to the floor,” Burton said. “You are going non-stop to establish operations, but you can only go at that pace for so long before you need fresh hands before something goes wrong and someone gets seriously hurt.”

“We hit it hard and we hit it quick,” he added.

The fire was contained to the two rooms of origin with minimal damage to the rest of the home, Burton said.