Arson destroyed a Junction City house, chief says

Arson caused an early morning fire Friday that destroyed an abandoned, vacant Junction City house that was being torn down, said Jimmy Gipson, fire and police chief of the southern Boyle County city.

Gipson said the property owner had asked him last week if the property could be burned down.

"I told him 'no'" because of Environmental Protection Agency regulations that prohibit the burning of such materials as siding and shingles that could put toxic materials into the air, Gipson said.

Gipson said he spoke Friday to the property owner, who was surprised that the structure had burned.

"I think he was being sincere in that," Gipson said. "He said he would be happy to take a polygraph test."

Burn patterns indicated arson, Gipson said. The fire was reported at about 1:40 a.m. Friday. The house had no electricity or gas. "There was no reason for this house to catch fire," Gipson said.

The chief said he is investigating a report that two juveniles on bikes had been in the area.

If caught, a suspect will be charged with wanton endangerment, arson, destruction of property and illegal burning, Gipson said.

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