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Firefighters investigate suspicious fire in southwest Lawton

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Lawton, Okla._ An early-morning house fire on Lawton's southwest side is raising a few eyebrows at the Lawton Fire Marshal's office. Firefighters were called to the house on 9th and Jefferson around 6:30 this morning. They say while most of the fire was confined to the attic, the flames destroyed the roof.

The vacant house was under construction and the homeowner says crews had just completed the electrical wiring on it. He says the house had been plagued with problems for months, and is questioning the cause of the fire.

He says his house had been burglarized for copper five times this year. He says someone even broke a window and stole some of the doors. He's even had people sleep over several times to protect the house from theft. His mother-in-law lives a few blocks away, she says when she got the news about the fire Thursday morning, it was more than she could bear.

"It's upsetting, you know. He's had so much damage done to this house it's unreal, and I am just upset by it that he has to keep going through this," she said.

She says it was heartbreaking to watch as firefighters put the flames out and see all her son-in-law's hard work destroyed again.

"Because just as he gets one thing fixed, they do something. Then, he has to re-fix something else because somebody's broken in the house and stole something. It's bad. I don't understand why people want to do that," she said.

Assistant Fire Marshal Ray Brown says no one was inside the house during the fire. It didn't spread to any nearby homes. He says investigators are still sifting through evidence. The exact cause is unknown.

"We haven't determined the exact point of origin almost all of the fire is confined to the attic area. It could be electrical wiring up in there. It could be a heating or air unit. There's still several factors it could be," Brown said.

Brown says it's still too early to tell whether or not this fire was intentionally set or whether it was just an unfortunate accident. He says they did find some suspicious gang graffiti inside the house but they're not ruling out an electrical fire. Either way, the homeowner's mother-in-law says she just wants to know what happened.

"I would like to believe that nobody did this on purpose, but if they did do this on purpose then I want them found, and I want them prosecuted. Because, it's ridiculous that hardworking people want to go out and build a life for themselves and people want to destroy their lives," she said.

Brown says they're still looking at several potential causes, including an electrical malfunction or arson.

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