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Officials investigate suspicious house fire

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 18, 2001

ST. PETERSBURG -- Fire officials are investigating a suspicious blaze that burned a vacant, two-story house early Saturday but are not linking it to recent arsons near downtown.

The two-alarm fire at 430 Fourth St. N was reported at 3:48 a.m. Forty firefighters took about 20 minutes to get the blaze under control. There were no injuries.

"This is being treated as very suspicious in origin," said St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue District Chief Tom Kitchen. "We're treating it as a possible arson."

Investigators say the fire may have started on the building's second floor. In the recent arson fires, someone placed material under buildings and ignited it, Kitchen said.

Officials say at least 15 fires have been deliberately set in a 10-block area in downtown since Nov. 5.

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