Arson suspected in Pasadena house fire

PASADENA — A house fire that badly damaged a vacant house on New Year’s Eve may have been the work of an arsonist, authorities said.
The fire broke out just before 9:45 p.m. in the 800 block of North Oakland Avenue, just south of Mountain Street, Pasadena police and fire department officials said.
No one was hurt in the fire, which caused an estimated $450,000 worth of damage to the small, single-story house and its contents, fire officials said. The home filled to what officials described as pack rat conditions.
The investigation into the cause of the fire remained ongoing Wednesday, however officials suspected arson, Pasadena police Lt. Terysa Rojas said. Transients have been known to inhabit the vacant home.
“The origin and cause of the fire was determined to be an open flame with the use of an accelerant,” Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. “We are investigating to determine who is responsible for setting the fire.”
The first firefighters to arrive at the scene encountered smoke coming from the rear of the house, fire officials said. The roof of the home became unstable, forcing firefighters to evacuate the building and continue pouring water on the flames from outside.
The home has been vacant since its owner died several months ago, Rojas said.
No information regarding a possible suspect was available.

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