Arson investigation intensifies

By on February 11, 2015

by PATRICK BURNS

Ephrata Police and the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal are investigating an arson fire set on the 900 block of Fairview Avenue in October.

Ephrata Police Detective Graeme Quinn said Tuesday investigators are in the process of interviewing neighbors, former employees, associates and other people who might have information pertaining to the crime.

“The fire marshal and investigators suspected arson at the scene but didn’t know for sure until test results came back from the lab early last month,” Quinn said.ER Ephrata Arson Fire002

Quinn said an accelerant helped spread an intentionally set fire in the garage attached to a home where a family of five slept on Oct. 24 at 986 Fairview Ave.

The family awoke and escaped the home after smoke alarms sounded at around 4 a.m.

Investigators said witnesses heard a pop or explosion in the garage in a home owned by Jason and Annette Stevens. Five dogs were also saved from the fire.

Jason Stevens has operated Code Administrators Inc. since 1996, a municipal consulting firm that specializes in construction code plans review, zoning, property maintenance, rental housing, municipal utility review and inspections.ER Ephrata Arson Fire001

A $1,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest in the fire estimated to have caused about $675,000 in damage. Three nearby homes were evacuated and five cars were damaged in the fire.

Anyone with information on the fire should contact detective Graeme Quinn at 738-9200 ext. 242. Tipsters can also call Lancaster County Crime Stoppers at (800) 322-1913 o anonymously text LANCS plus your message to 847411.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

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