Eubank firefighters battle another blaze at old school
By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
Fire officials are investigating a suspicious fire in northern Pulaski County that harkens back to a rash of blazes that took place in the same area last winter.
Eubank Volunteer Fire Department Chief Norman Rutheford said his department responded to a report of a fire at the old 7th grade building located in the same area as the Eubank High School — a historic landmark that was completely destroyed by a suspicious blaze in December 2011.
“I’ll say someone set a fire there (at the old 7th grade building) because there’s no electric there and it was in the middle of the building,” said Rutheford. “It’s sort of funny and really suspicious.”
The 7th grade facility, long since unused, was renovated into a home, Rutheford said, but he said the building is unoccupied.
Firefighters responded to the report of the fire at around 7:20 a.m. Monday and stayed on the scene for an hour and a half to two hours.
“We knocked the fire down pretty quick,” Rutheford said. “We contained it to the room it was in ... there was smoke damage to the entire structure but it wasn’t a total loss.”
Monday’s blaze marked the first time the department had responded to a suspicious blaze since January, when they were kept busy for more than a month with reports of early-morning fires at area businesses and at the Eubank High School.
The Eubank Fire Department responded to as many as seven or eight fires in the month of December 2011 alone, including the Eubank High School fire and a fire at East Anderson Hardwoods. Firefighters had responded to several smaller fires at the school in the weeks leading up to the massive blaze that claimed the beloved landmark as the Eubank community watched.
Eubank firefighters also responded to a second fire at east Anderson Hardwoods in early January of this year and to a blaze at Barron Pallets, Inc. in mid-January. Along with those, firefighters had also responded to several house fires, including one at a vacant home on North Ky. 1247 that was also being investigated as an arson.
Rewards were even offered for information on some of the fires and state and local arson investigators have been investigating the fires.
But since then, the suspicious blazes had all but stopped.
Rutheford said it’s impossible right now to tell if Monday’s fire — which happened several hours after the earlier suspicious blazes had been set — is connected to this winter’s fires.
The Somerset Fire Investigation Team has been called in to investigate.