ELKHART — Police and fire inspectors are investigating a fire that destroyed a house in the southeast side of Elkhart and that responding firefighters are calling arson.
The Elkhart Fire Department was called to the corner of Elizabeth and Bar streets at about 11:53 p.m. Saturday, March 22, for reports of a fully involved house fire.
Battalion Chief David Cushwa said crews found the house fully engulfed in flames when they first arrived. An electric pole in front of the house was on fire as well.
The fire was under control by 12:09 a.m., but units remained at the scene for a couple of hours after, checking for hot spots and investigating the cause.
Cushwa said the house was vacant. It was owned by the city and was going to be used for a collapse rescue class, for firefighters. The class was scheduled to take place Sunday, March 23.
Cushwa said that because the structure was being used for a fire department class, there was no electricity or gas installed in the house.
"Someone had to have set the fire, because there was no other way it could have started," he said. "It was a completely unoccupied structure."
Cushwa said the police department, as well as a fire inspector, will continue investigating the cause and origin of the fire.