Arson is suspected in a late Monday afternoon blaze that destroyed a home and caused minor injuries to a Williamsburg firefighter.
Emlyn Fire Chief Matt Witt said firefighters from his department and Williamsburg were notified shortly before 5 p.m. about the fire on Savoy Clear Creek Road.
"When we got here, the fire was in the attic area of the house," Witt said. "I think the building had been vacant about seven years. We went inside the house and couldn’t get to the fire."
Williamsburg firefighter Mike Colyer had a problem with his breathing apparatus and suffered some minor smoke inhalation. Whitley County EMS treated him at the scene.
Witt said at that point the roof was also starting to buckle and he decided to pull firefighters out and let the building burn rather than risk getting someone else hurt.
"No building is worth a life," he added.
Witt said that an empty house next door to this one had burned twice before, and arson was suspected both times.
"It was definitely arson," Witt said. "In this neighborhood, it is fairly dangerous to have a vacant building. They have them all over the Savoy Clear Creek Road. It seems like if one stays vacant any length of time, they set it on fire."
About 20 firefighters from Emlyn and Williamsburg responded to battle the fire.
Debbie Partin, whose grandmother used to live in the home for several decades, said she found out about the fire from one of her nieces, who called her.
She said it’s a shame that people do such a thing to an empty building.