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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2007
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House fire deemed suspicious

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ATHENS — Authorities say a fire that erupted Tuesday at a house under construction in Athens is suspicious.

A neighbor called authorities at 9 p.m. about the fire on Summit Lake Drive. Fire Chief Cliff Christopher said the fire started on the wood deck and spread to the back door and up to the attic.

"There were flames showing from the back when we arrived, and there was heavy smoke," Christopher said.

He said the house was about 95 percent complete. The house did not have permanent power but did have temporary power for the construction work.

"The fact that it started outside and there was no power makes it appear suspicious," Christopher said.

The Department of Forensic Sciences is testing samples from the scene.

Police Capt. Marty Bruce said the builder and homeowner, Tony Herchenhahn, estimated the damage to be approximately $30,000.

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