Selma Police confirm arrest of two suspects in firePublished 8:37pm Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Sometime after 2 p.m. Tuesday, a fire started in an abandoned home in the 400 block Alabama Avenue, blocks away from Old Live Oak Cemetery, and spread to a neighboring home. Two suspects, possibly juveniles, were taken into custody in conjunction with the starting of the fire.
“The suspicious nature of the fire in itself was a guiding factor,” Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley said about suspecting arsonists were involved in the incident Tuesday.
Selma Fire Chief Michael Stokes said detective Ray Blanks with the Selma Police Department and Jeff Harrison, who is the Deputy State Fire Marshall, were looking further into the situation Tuesday evening and conducting an investigation. Stokes too said arson was, “highly suspected early on” while fighting the fire.
The identities of those arrested are not yet known as Riley said they are being interviewed and could possibly be juveniles.
The abandoned house fire resulted in a total loss and fire officials said they did the best they could to stop the second home from burning completely and prevent a third home from catching fire as well.
Stokes said the call came in to report the fire at 2:19 p.m. and the fire department had water going on the first fire by 2:24 p.m.
“[The first house] was a total loss, so then our efforts were focused on making sure the second fire was contained and the third house didn’t catch on fire,” Stokes said.
Stokes had his team turned their attention from the abandoned house that was fully engulfed and hosed down the occupied home. He said to prevent a third fire, fire fighters went in between the two houses and sprayed with a larger hose line to keep the heat radiating to the home and said, “We broke that thermal barrier there and stopped another fire from happening.”
Stokes said the same heat resulted in one of his firefighters being transported to the hospital.
“We did send someone to the hospital for heat exhaustion, but he has been released and should make a full recovery,” Stokes said. “The kicker to this whole thing was that as they were 90 percent finished; we get the call to go across the river for another fire so I had to send the East Selma Fire crew — who had been working on the first one — to throw their stuff on the truck, go across the river and do it all again. So they got double duty and some intense heat today.”