FLORENCE — State fire marshal investigators are assisting Florence firefighters in determining who reportedly tossed an explosive into a west Florence residence Sunday night, causing an explosion at the home.
“We’re still trying to confirm some things, but evidence collected at the scene appears to indicate it was a set fire,” Florence fire Lt. Ryan Orrick said.
The one-story, wood-frame house at 333 Beverly Ave. was destroyed. The intensity of the fire bent a weight-lifting bar that was in one room. Walls were charred and debris filled other rooms.
“It’s essentially a total loss,” Orrick said.
The fire was reported at 7:12 p.m. Sunday by a neighbor who later told investigators that a dark-colored SUV was seen leaving the area after the explosions. Orrick said the neighbor said he didn’t see anything thrown into the house but said he heard two explosions.
Police Chief Ron Tyler said patrol units unsuccessfully looked for a vehicle matching the description immediately after the fire.
Homeowner Kwalee Cooper, who works outside the Shoals, told investigators no one has lived in the house for about four months.
He said the house, which tax records indicate was built in 1948, was being remodeled. In some cases, ceilings had already been taken out and were to be replaced.
Orrick said utilities were on at the house, but the breaker box was off.
He said the house was filled with flames when firefighters arrived.
It took nearly 45 minutes to control the fire, “and they did an exceptional job to keep the fire from spreading to the houses on either side.”
Orrick said evidence collected at the house has been sent to a fire laboratory for analysis, a process he said could take several months to complete.
“We and the fire marshal investigators will continue following up on leads,” Orrick said.
He said no injuries were reported in connection with the fire.
Anyone with information is asked to call 256-760-6475.
Mike Goens can be reached at 256-740-5740 or mike.goens@TimesDaily.com.