Monday, December 11, 2017
Public safety

Arson suspected in fires at Clearwater home, which is also site of past slaying

CLEARWATER — A Clearwater home that was the scene of a still-unsolved 2008 murder caught fire twice last week, and authorities think both blazes may have been intentionally set.

Callers phoned 911 about 4 a.m. Saturday to report that the roof was ablaze at the two-story house at 1051 Nokomis St.

A fire on Thursday at the same house caused about $100,000 in damage, authorities said. Two people safely escaped the house and no one was injured, according to a city news release.

Fire officials initially said the first fire started in an electrical panel on the back porch. But after the second fire was said to possibly be an arson, both blazes were being investigated.

Yellow crime scene tape was strung up across three palm trees in front of the home Saturday afternoon. A sign posted near the front door said the fire at the home was the result of arson. It offered a cash reward for information about the cause.

A second sign, posted by city officials, labeled the house an "uninhabited and dangerous structure." Pieces of charred wood blackened the front walkway and smoke stains marked the edges of glassless window frames on the house's facade.

In February 2008, Larry A. Fenton, 57, was shot to death in the foyer of the home. His wife, Rebecca, later told police that she was exercising in a detached garage when she heard a pop. When she came inside the home, she found her husband's body.

Investigators soon discovered the couple's 1993 Jeep Cherokee abandoned nearby. The murder remains unsolved.

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