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Arson is suspected in a blaze Tuesday night that damaged a house on Shelbyville’s east end just before midnight.
Officials at the Shelby County Fire Department said that at 11:55 p.m., crews were dispatched to a structure fire at 1351 Dotland Circle in the Meadowbrook subdivision.
Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Ivers said that crews extinguished the fire quickly, and though the home sustained heavy smoke damage throughout, fire damage was confined to only one room.
Nancy Davis owns the property and was renting it to a couple, Ivers said.
He added that Maj. Andy White, a fire investigator with the Shelby County Fire Department, checked out the scene Wednesday and called in an arson dog to assist with the investigation and did find evidence that the blaze was intentionally set.
“The arson dog did alert on twelve spots today; that gives us a pretty good indication, plus the fire department found areas where it started, the hot spots of the fire and we do believe that is it arson,” said Shelby County Sheriff’s Detective Jason Rice.
“We have an investigation going on and have a person of interest that we are looking at, but nothing's been charged at this point.”
Rice said that the investigation includes looking at a domestic dispute on Sunday between the couple who lived there.
“The parties had split up, one of the parties had returned back to the residence, they had both started living with family members on each side,” he said. “The male returned back to the house Tuesday night. He said he saw smoke from inside the house then went to alert his wife. She was nervous and didn't answer the door because of the previous assault.
“In the meantime our deputy's already pulled up and seen smoke and called the fire department, so it's kind of a convoluted story. But there was a previous domestic at the house but neither one was living there for those two days after that altercation. I did find the male today and arrested him on the domestic violence charge.”
Rice said that the husband, Alvaro Ramirez-Nava, is charged with fourth-degree assault.
He said that though investigators are focusing on a person of interest in the case, Ramirez-Nava is not charged with arson.
“Not necessarily saying that he is our main suspect, but he is definitely a suspect,” he said.