'Intentionally set'
Fire that destroyed vacant home believed to be arson

COVINGTON - Arson is suspected in the fire that destroyed a home Wednesday morning at 547 Ellington Road in Oxford, according to Newton County Fire Services Deputy Chief Tim Smith.

Smith said the fire department received a call about 7:30 a.m. that a modular home was on fire.

"When firefighters arrived, we found it fully engulfed in flames," Smith said. "We extinguished the fire and investigators have determined the fire was intentionally set."

Smith said the home had been vacant since October and apparently the owner had inherited it from her deceased mother. The electric power was disconnected.

"Nobody was living there," he said. "There were some furnishings ... things that had belonged to the mother."

Smith estimated a total loss of $100,000, which included the house and contents.

He said the investigation into the fire is ongoing; however, there is a person of interest who is being questioned.

Smith urged that anyone who might have information regarding the fire to call the NCFS arson tip line at 678-625-5050. Tips can be left anonymously or if the caller desires to talk with an investigator, they should leave contact information. Or, tips can be left at the NCFS Arson Tip Line link on the Newton County Board of Commissioners Web site.

Also, the Georgia Fire Commissioners Office offers a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for arson. Call the Georgia Arson Hot Line at 1-800-282-5804.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.