Mount Eden fire deemed arson

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Investigators asking for public’s help

By Lisa King

Arson investigators are asking for the public’s help in gathering information about a fire Sunday in Mount Eden that knocked out some phone lines for several hours.

The fire broke out at 146 Mount Eden Road in Spencer County at about 4 a.m. Sunday morning, and the Mount Eden Fire Department arrived to find the structure fully involved, said Fire Chief Doug Herndon.

“Arson is likely to be the cause of the fire,” Herndon said.

Rob Rothenburger, interim 911 director, said that several fiber optic cables were damaged in the fire, interrupting 911 communications for a short time.

“AT&T was on the scene and got those repaired in a very short fashion,” he said. “Fiber optics carry a multitude of resources and tools. They can do telephone, 911 and high speed Internet. Emergency Management said that 911 and cellular service may be affected as a result, but we did not get any calls about service being affected.”

Herndon said investigators suspect arson because the building was vacant at the time of the fire and no electricity was turned on in the building.

The building used to be a church and later was employed for residential use, Herndon said.

Kentucky State Police is heading up the arson investigation, and spokesperson Ron Turley said the blaze also damaged two structures across the street. That consisted of damage to siding and electric and phone wires.

Although phone service was affected, both Kentucky Utilities and Shelby Energy officials said they did not have any customers without electrical service as a result of the fire.

Turley said that the 2-story building had been vacant for some time and was collapsing in on itself. 

Herndon said that although investigators do not know the motive for the fire – the building was not insured ­ it could be tied in with a similar fire that happened Jan. 10 at a nearby building, which was also vacant and also uninsured.

Arson is suspected in that fire as well, and Herndon said investigators are looking into whether the two are related.

 “It is a good possibility, but we don’t know for sure yet,” he said. “As for a motive, we don’t know that either, but there has been a strong feeling in the community for a long time that those buildings were eyesores.”

Anyone with information about this fire is asked to call the Kentucky Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON. The Kentucky State Arson Task Force is offering up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or indictment of the arsonist. Callers may remain anonymous.