Local News

Durham Authorities Continue To Investigate Suspicious House Fire

Posted January 7, 2003 8:19 a.m. EST

— Durham police and fire officials continue to investigate a Monday morning house fire.

Officials said the fire started in the garage of the home at 4527 American Drive, in the American Village subdivision around 10:30 a.m.

Durham police found evidence that suggested a 17-year-old girl, who is a student at Riverside High School, may have been tied up.

"What we have is a suspicious fire under suspicious circumstances," said Lt. Norman Blake of the Durham Police Department.

Evidence technicians took several items from the house, including a thick metal chain, a pair of rubber gloves and a shirt with duct tape on it.

Blake said the girl was home alone when the fire started. He said when the first officer arrived at the scene, the girl was outside in the driveway crying hysterically.

Neighbors reportedly heard explosions coming from the home and called 911.

Heavy smoke continued to pour from the roof of the home until noon. About two dozen firefighters responded to the fire.

After being questioned by police, the teenager was transported to Duke Hospital for observation.

The girl's parents, who were at work, came to the scene after being contacted by police. The family had been living at the home for eight years.

The SBI is also taking part in the investigation.

At this time, investigators said there are no suspects.