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Recent house fires may be arson

A house fire in Lawton has officials investigating the possibility of arson.  It's the second suspicious fire in less than a week and both homes had been vacant at the time of the fires, so they were easy targets.  The most recent suspicious blaze was battled by firefighters at an empty house at 230 East Gore early Sunday, caused about $40,000 in damage and is a total loss.  But, since it's a holiday, authorities have to wait until Tuesday to get the homeowner's name from the courthouse.

Police officers and firefighters arrived on the scene while flames burned right through the roof.  Since the house was vacant, authorities on the scene called for the Fire Marshall to investigate and it remains under investigation.  "The structure had no utilities attached.  The fire is undetermined at this time but it is considered suspicious," said Fire Marshall Rick Mitchell; and, he says it's most likely arson.  "Basically it's a process of elimination.  Eliminate accidental causes and working our way down to the area of origin," he said.  Although the location of where the fire started was buried when the roof collapsed, Mitchell noted that there was no power in the home, so something or someone else must have started it.

"This particular fire we have no suspects, no witnesses.  It occurred obviously early hours in the morning," said Mitchell.  Although there were two fires in the span of one week that may have been deliberately set, authorities have no leads and don't believe the two are related.  "At this time we have no reason to believe that they are connected. They are on opposite ends of town, they were a little bit different circumstances," he said. 

The Lawton Fire Department would like your help to stop these crimes.  "If you're a citizen and you have a vacant property near your home or where you live, keep an eye on it.  Look for suspicious activity around it," Mitchell said.  If you see people on foot around vacant properties after hours, don't be afraid to contact the police department and ask for someone to check it out.  Or, you can call Lawton Crimestoppers at 580-355-INFO.

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