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Probably arson - Fire marshal investigating

By:  Star Beacon - Shelley Terry

ASHTABULA — A young man rapped on Christina DeLuia’s door late Monday night with some disturbing news.

He told her to call the fire department because the house next door was on fire.

“It really, really scared me. I was so shook up I couldn’t even call 9-1-1,” she said. “I could see the flicker of the flames in my window. You don’t expect it to be so close.”

On Tuesday, DeLuia received more upsetting news. This time, it was from fire marshal Ron Deemer.

“We have reason to believe it’s an arson,” he said.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for setting the blaze.

“No lead is too big or too small,” Deemer said.

When firefighters arrived at 10:20 p.m. Monday at 1634 W. Seventh St., they found flames showing from the upstairs windows of the two-story home, according to the firefighters’ reports. Firefighters battled the blaze for three hours before leaving the scene at 1:20 a.m. Tuesday, reports show.

DeLuia and her neighbors watched the vacant house burn down, she said.

No one was injured, firefighters said.

The home is owned by Michele and Nancy Patete of Ashtabula, who use it as a rental property. The house has been vacant for the past three to four months, Nancy Patete said.

Firefighters estimated the loss at $60,000, according to the report.

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