Janesville71.2°

Suspicious house fire being investigated

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
March 30, 2009
— Police detectives were called to the scene of a suspicious fire that caused extensive damage to a vacant Janesville house early this morning.

The fire started on the front porch and exterior of 121 Clark St. and caused extensive damage.


Scott Morovits, fire department shift commander, said the fire is suspicious and under investigation by Janesville Fire Marshal Larry Hainstock and police detective Mark Johnson.


The house had been through foreclosure and was for sale by a bank, Morovits said.


The Web site for First Weber Group Realtors listed the house's sale price as $58,900.


The wood-frame, two-unit house was vacant. It had been secured and winterized, Morovits said.


Firefighters remained on scene at 8:30 a.m. to help with the investigation, water down hot spots and to pick up equipment, Morovits said.


Firefighters were dispatched at 5:25 a.m. after a resident of 318 S. Parker Drive called the Rock County Communications Center and reported "a lot of smoke in the intersection of South Parker Drive and Clark Street," Morovits said.


Janesville police arrived first and found the house burning at the northwest corner of Clark Street and South Parker Drive, Morovits said.


On the way to the fire, Morovits saw smoke from as far away as South Main Street at Racine street, he said.


Upon arrival, firefighters saw "the structure was fully involved and flames showing," Morovits said.


Four fire department engines and two ambulances plus other personnel from the Janesville Police Department responded to the scene.


Traffic was blocked for several hours at Clark Street on Main and Division Streets, Morovits said.



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