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Fire chief: Blaze that destroyed Petersville house ‘suspicious’

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A fire that destroyed a one-story, ranch-style home in Petersville early Tuesday appears to be suspicious in nature, Clay Township Fire Chief Doyle Morgan said.

The 2:54 a.m. blaze at 2917 Randall Court is being investigated by Matt Noblitt of the Columbus Fire Department, Morgan said.

“When we got there, it was pretty well fully engulfed,” Morgan said.

The house is at the end of a cul-de-sac on Petersville’s northeast side.

The fire may have originated in the kitchen, but there was no electric service to the home, Morgan said.

It was owned and occupied by Noel C. Simmons, Morgan said.

Simmons, 51, was not at home when the fire occurred. He was arrested Monday night on a warrant charging him with failure to appear in court on an original charge of driving while suspended.

Simmons was booked into jail at 7:46 p.m. Monday and released on $500 cash bond at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Although witnesses said someone else had just moved into the residence, Morgan said he was unable to determine who had moved in.

Structural damage to the home is estimated at $80,000, with an additional $20,000 in lost contents, Morgan said.

Besides the Columbus Fire Department, Clay Township volunteers were assisted at the scene by units from Hartsville, Clifford and Hope.

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