Fire investigators say south Augusta house fire is arson

Investigators say this fire at a south Augusta home was an arson. (WRDW-TV)

Investigators say this fire at a south Augusta home was an arson. (WRDW-TV)

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Fire investigators say a Tuesday morning house fire in south Augusta was not started by accident.

The fire destroyed the inside of a vacant home on Conniston Drive, and investigators say all signs point to arson.

"I'm surprised that house right there burned down. I didn't even hear it, I was asleep," said Charles Brown, who lives across the street.

Brown was asleep like most of the neighbors in Butler Manor when firefighters got called to the fire.

Lt. Neal Brown with the Richmond County Fire Department says, "A neighbor just happened to bring a child out for the school bus and saw the smoke."

But as soon as investigators arrived, things seemed a little fishy.

"Property was not locked, not secured, windows open," Lt. Brown said.

Neighbors say no one lived in the home at the corner of Celeste and Conniston Drive. The property had been vacant more than a year, meaning no power or gas was running to the home, eliminating those as possible causes for the fire.

But there were several hundred magazines found inside, all charred.

"When they entered, they encountered fire in three different parts of the kitchen area or the dining room area," Lt. Brown said.

And three different fires in one room only means one thing to a fire investigator: arson.

"There were five total points of origin in the house," Lt. Brown said.

Neighbors say they're pretty surprised a crime like this happened.

"It's a pretty good neighborhood to stay in, ain't no bad place out here," Brown said.

Fire investigators say they have not been able to track down the owner of the home. They say there are some discrepancies in the tax records, so they are investigating that as well.

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