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Tuesday a.m. fires probed

Is an arsonist at work in remote areas?

Charred rubble and a basement staircase are all that remain of a Valley Road house that was destroyed by fire Tuesday morning. The house had been vacant for the last 10 years after a previous fire damaged the structure in 2000. Christopher Tanguay. (click for larger version)
July 14, 2010
HOLLAND — Another Tuesday morning fire has raised suspicion of a possible arsonist in the area, but State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan's office is not ready to jump to that conclusion yet.

At approximately 4 a.m. Tuesday, July 13, fire personnel from Holland and Brimfield responded to a structure fire on Valley Road, a private way overlooking Hamilton Reservoir off Mashapaug Road.

Although the fire was subdued quickly, it did destroy a small cottage house that had been empty for 10 years.

Despite stark similarities to two earlier fires in Brimfield that have been ruled as arsons, Coan's spokesman Jennifer Meith said the cause of the Holland fire has yet to be determined.

"They haven't finalized their cause or determination but because the building has been vacant since 2000 when there was a previous fire, it is a suspicious fire," Meith said. "But they're not prepared to call it arson until they finish their investigation."

Because it had been vacant for so long, there was no electricity or other utilities running to the house.

The same was true for two other vacant houses destroyed by fire in June.

Both of those houses — one on Paige Hill and the other on Washington Road in Brimfield — had been vacant for years with no active utilities.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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