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Vacant Home Catches Fire: Investigators Rule Suspicious

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LAWTON, Okla._

Investigators are ruling a house fire suspicious after a vacant house caught fire on Lawton's west side.

Firefighters were called to Northwest 18th and Irwin a little after two Sunday afternoon after neighbors reported seeing smoke and flames shooting from the home.

 Jill Huibregtse said she was watching closely from her backyard as firefighters soaked remaining hot spots in the vacant home.

 She noticed smoke coming from the house next door as she was leaving and minutes later  watched as flames erupted.

"I was hoping there was no one inside," said Huibregtse.

She said that's when she dialed 9-1-1.

"It freaked me out a little bit," said Huibregtse.

 Luckily fire crews were able to contain the fire to the vacant house and said they had the old tile on the roof to thank.

"The good thing about that is that it's really good for preventing fire spread. The bad thing is about it is it's made out of asbestos--so it's one of those things that as long as it doesn't burn or get powdered up, it doesn't present a hazard to you," said Lawton Fire Chief Lonnie London.

Fire investigators said believed the fire was intentionally set but weren't sure by who.

"Most of the time there its usually a vagrant in this kind of home, setting inside, and a lot of times they're trying to do something either trying to cook or to stay warm and it'll get away from them a little bit and then they don't have any water or fire extinguisher or anything like that to control it," said London.

"I still feel bad for the homeowner, it's somebody's house. I don't know if there were possessions or things inside but I'm glad no one got hurt," said Huibregtse.

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