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A house on Austin Street is cordoned off with crime scene tape after an early Sunday morning fire. The house was vacant with no utility service at the time of the blaze, which took firefighters about 40 minutes to extinguish. Jacksonville Fire Department officials said evidence exists the house was broken into and set on fire. The investigation is ongoing.

An early morning fire Sunday left a house on Austin Street a total loss this weekend, according to Jacksonville Fire Department Chief Paul White.

The fire is considered suspicious and is under investigation, he said.

“No one was living in the home and the utilities were turned off,” he said. “It appears the house was broken into and it appears the house was set on fire.”

The house suffered a fire about six months ago, White said, after which the current owner purchased the residence.

He said the house was not insured.

The Sunday morning fire last about 40 minutes, White said.

“Firemen went inside and tried to attack the fire,” he said. “When it spread to the attic and roof, it became too dangerous and they were pulled out.”

He said firefighters worked to defensively extinguish the fire and protect the adjoining houses.

“One of our main things is keeping it off other houses,” he said. “We always protect adjoining structures.”

White said the fire is currently being examined by JFD investigators. If it is found to be arson or if JFD identifies a suspect in the fire, the case will then be handed over to the Jacksonville Police Department.

Anyone with information about the fire can call the Jacksonville Fire Marshall’s office at 903-586-7131.

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