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Wheeling fire investigated as arson

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By Staff

RANDY PATRICK

The Kentucky Standard

The Bardstown Fire Department is seeking the public’s help in trying to find out what caused a fire that destroyed a house under construction at 109 Wheeling Ave. late Sunday night.

Maj. Todd Spalding, assistant fire chief and the department’s arson investigator, said  the fire appears to have been caused by arson.

“It’s looking like an incendiary fire. An arson fire. Because he didn’t have any electric going to it,” Spalding said, referring to the owner, Brooks Houck, a local builder, who was on the scene just before midnight. “Witnesses say they heard a pop, and they looked out the window, and it was fully involved.”

No one he talked to had seen anyone leaving the scene, Spalding said.

He asked that anyone with information that might help solve the case call the Fire Department at (502) 349-6562.

Chief Billy Mattingly said Tuesday morning that one lead the investigation is following is that the fire may have been caused by disgruntled employees of Houck.

Although he has never been charged, Houck has been named as a suspect in the 2015 disappearance of Crystal Rogers, his girlfriend and mother of his child.

Spalding returned to the scene Monday morning to inspect the damage as part of the investigation.

The intense fire, which was reported just before 10 p.m., melted the vinyl siding on two other houses, one next door and another across the street.

“It was really hot and a lot of embers with it. The embers went as far as two houses down,” Spalding said. “We were able to get the fire extinguished before it got into those structures.”

This is not the first property Houck has owned that has been intentionally set on fire. In 2016, a former tenant of Houck’s was arrested and charged with arson in connection with a fire on Watts Court in November 2016.