Arson blamed as Clare house burns

August 9, 2019

Clare Firefighters broke through the roof of the house on Pine in an attempt to put out the fire that destroyed the second floor of the vacant building. Photo by Bob Guiliani

By Pat Maurer

The State Fire Marshall has been called to investigate a fire in a vacant Clare City house last Sunday.

Clare City Police Chief Brian Gregory called it an “arson fire” and said the Clare Police Department and Clare Fire Department are investigating the fire at 504 Pine Street, just east of McEwan Street.

The call came in at 5:06 p.m. August 3rd, Gregory said in a press release.
Clare Fire Chief Jim Chapman said the vacant house, owned by Jim Paetschow, was scheduled to be demolished in September.

Chapman said, “When we arrived about 7 minutes after the call came in, we found heavy fire coming out the second floor windows. We quickly knocked the fire down. After we got the fire under control, we discovered where an attempt to start a fire had been made on the first floor. We were unable to determine where the fire started upstairs because of the heavy damage there, but it appears that someone attempted to start fires on both floors.”

He continued, “We can’t say arson was the cause until the investigation is complete, but that’s what we think happened.”

“We were on the scene for about two hours,” Chapman said. There were no injuries.

Chapman said Wednesday morning that the Michigan State Police Fire Marshall hadn’t come to investigate the fire yet.

Gregory reported that “The entire upper level of the home is a complete loss.” He said the CPD is following up on several leads and ‘tips’.” He said the CFD was assisted at the scene by Harrison and Surrey Township Fire Departments, the Clare County Sheriff’s Office and Mobile Medical Response Ambulance

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