Janesville59.1°

Cause of $52,000 Janesville fire undetermined

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
September 10, 2011
— The city fire marshal said he couldn’t determine the cause of a Thursday night fire in an unoccupied house.

“I can’t rule out electrical. There was wiring there that had an obvious short on the wiring,” Fire Marshal Larry Hainstock said.


Even though the house at 407 S. High St. was vacant, the power was on.


“I can’t rule out suspicious because the house was unsecured with the door open,” Hainstock said.


The fire started in a closet on the main floor, he said.


Firefighters and police officers who responded at 11:43 p.m. found smoke billowing from the first and second floors of the single-family house, according to a fire department press release.


A neighbor discovered the smoke and called 911, according to the release.


While officers conducted traffic control and evacuated neighbors on both sides of the house, firefighters learned the fire started on the first floor before spreading to the second floor through the home’s interior walls.


The house owner, Kouily Phaboriboune, 321 S. Pine St., Janesville, told firefighters the house had been unoccupied for a week after tenants moved out.


The fire caused about $52,000 damage.


Alliant Energy crews and firefighters from Beloit Township and Milton assisted at the scene.


Firefighters remained on scene through the night. No injuries were reported.



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