EAST LIVERPOOL - An early-morning fire Wednesday that destroyed a home along Laurel Lane in the downtown has been deemed suspicious by the East Liverpool Fire Department.
According to Assistant Chief Eric Croxall, the fire started on the front porch of the two-story structure and eventually made its way into the attic.
"It took some of the roof as well," he said. "(The house) is pretty well totaled."
The East Liverpool Fire Department is investigating a fire that took place Wednesday morning at a Laurel Lane rental home. (Photo by Jim Mackey)
The home at 140 Laurel, owned by Tom Rice of East Palestine, was being rented, however no one was in the building at the time of the fire.
"From what we have learned, it was rented, but no one had been staying there for a few days," Croxall said.
The department's two-man crew on duty received the call at 4:52 a.m. Wednesday, and upon arrival, called out a third alarm at 4:54. Nine other firefighters responded, and the department had the blaze under control by 5:45. The scene was cleared around 8:15.
Croxall said although the fire is considered suspicious at this time, the department's investigation will continue.
Factors such as where the fire originated (the outside porch), that the house was secured and there was no sign of forced entry have led to the "suspicious" cause, Croxall added.
Rice, according to the ELFD, had owner's insurance on the home, although it's believed there was no renter insurance.
The home sits on the corner of Laurel Lane and Fawcett Street, just off Bradshaw Avenue.