Como fire deemed suspicious

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 27, 2006

COMO – A Friday afternoon fire at 111 Whitaker Lane in Como has local authorities investigating the possibility of arson.

Como Fire Chief Jason Howell confirmed that his department was called to the residence, a singlewide mobile home, which was already ablaze when firemen arrived.

The residence, a rental unit that is on a lot owned by Kenny Williams of Como, was not occupied at the time of the fire.

Howell said that Bill Bowser, who maintains the property, confirmed that there have been no residents at the location since April.

Howell said, &uot;We have had reports that people have been seen in and around the residence, but it has not been rented since April.&uot;

The extensive flames coming from the unit prompted the Como firefighters to call in assistance from the Murfreesboro Fire Department.

&uot;After we got the fire under control from the outside, we called in mutual aid from Murfreesboro,&uot; Howell continued.

Lee Thompson, Assistant Fire Chief of the Murfreesboro F.D., came in to serve as team leader in attempt to gain entry to the home, which was locked when the Como responders arrived.

Once the fire had been put out, Howell said he and Thompson began a routine investigation as to the cause of the blaze, and although the fire at first seemed a likely electrical malfunction, further inspection of the burn patterns prompted the Chief to call in local law enforcement.

Howell added, &uot;We called the Sheriff’s office to confirm the suspicions of Thompson and myself.&uot;

Lieutenant Will Liverman of the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the scene of the fire.

Howell confirmed that after a thorough investigation by Liverman, the three men were certain that the matter needed to be brought to the attention of the State Bureau of Investigation’s Arson Detection unit.

Currently, Howell and Liverman are awaiting a response from the SBI in Raleigh.

Howell wanted to thank the efforts of the Murfreesboro Fire Department as well as Lt. Liverman of the Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.

&uot;There were no injuries to any civilians or emergency responders and for that I am thankful,&uot; Howell said. &uot;Unfortunately there may have been a crime committed and if so we will get to the bottom of it.&uot;

If you any information concerning the fire please call Chief Jason Howell at 398-7360, or Lt. Will Liverman at 358-7800.