The axes firefighters swung early Sunday afternoon to slice into a Loyalsock Township structure represent the digging of an investigator's suspicion.
Township Assistant Fire Chief Tim Boush said he will assist the state police fire marshal investigation probing the remains of a vacant 224 Miller Lane house near the intersection of Northway Road and East Third Street.
Boush doesn't know how the fire was sparked, but he suspects a criminal act.
Firefighters battle smoke and flames at a vacant 224 Miller Lane home in Loyalsock Township Sunday afternoon. Township Assistant Fire Chief Tim Boush said he will assist a state police
investigation into the blaze, which he called “suspicious.”
"It's under investigation, but suspicious at this point," he said. "It's a vacant house, so any time you have a vacant house, it's suspicious."
South Williamsport resident Marilyn Neyhart, part-owner of the corporation that owns the burned building, said there have been vandalism problems since the home was vacated at least five years ago.
She said she doesn't know what started Sunday's fire, but she is aware of people breaking into the boarded-up structure that sits to the rear of the former Faxon Lumber office.
Items have been stolen from the home, which Neyhart said has no electricity, water or other utility services.
"We've had problems with people breaking into it (the home), and taking things out of it," she said.
Boush said firefighters made a quick response from the nearby township fire station.
"We had three trucks on the scene within two or three minutes after dispatch," Boush said of the 12:05 p.m. call.
From the north and east ends of the two-and-a-half story structure, flames charred the interior and smoke spewed out windows.
Boush said no one was injured fighting the two-alarm fire that was contained to the house, termed a complete loss.
First responders, he said, initially assisted the township department, including fire stations from the city, Montoursville and Eldred Township.
Boush said more manpower was needed on a warm summer day, prompting the second alarm that brought firefighters to the burnt building from South Williamsport, Old Lycoming Township and Montgomery Borough.
Additional departments provided backup for the stations at the scene, according to Boush.