CLAIR-MEL — An early Monday morning fire that damaged a home was the result of arson, according to fire officials.
No one was injured in the blaze, which broke out about 1 a.m. at 6512 36th Ave. Neighbors phoned 911 when they saw heavy smoke coming from the house, according to officials with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. When fire crews arrived, flames were emanating from the roof. It took them about 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze.
The house shares property with a second home, officials said. People live in both houses, but no one was inside either house at the time of the fire.
Firefighters noted that the front door of the second home was open and a smell of gas hung in the air.
Due to the circumstances, fire investigators said the blaze in the first home was "suspicious." It was later declared an arson.
An investigation to determine who set the blaze was ongoing.