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Fire at vacant Smithfield house ruled suspicious

Posted September 29, 2010

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— Police said that Investigators have ruled that a fire that destroyed a vacant house in Smithfield Saturday is suspicious.

The cause of the fire, which started in the back of the house at 609 Vermont St., has not been determined, police said. The house had been vacant and up for sale for about six months.

Police said the fire caused $145,500 worth of damage to the house.

Neighbors who smelled smoke reported the fire around 6:30 a.m., and heavy smoke was pouring from the roof when firefighters arrived.

Police said they are looking into the possibility that the fire could be related to other recent fires at vacant homes, but so far, there's been no evidence that suggests a link.

Johnston County authorities are investigating two separate strings of arson cases – at least eight fires at uninhabited homes in the Clayton area since Halloween 2009 and 11 fires at barns and abandoned homes around Four Oaks and Betonville since February.

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