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Firefighters believe early Monday morning fire in Tampa duplex was arson

Published Mar. 8, 2016

TAMPA — Authorities say a fire that damaged a north Tampa duplex early Monday morning was deliberately set.

Tampa Fire Rescue crews arrived at 10018 N Lantana Ave. at about 2:30 a.m. and found heavy smoke and flames shooting from the single-story brick building, according to the agency. Crews had the fire under control about 25 minutes later.

The unit that caught fire was unoccupied at the time, and the displaced resident is receiving help from the Red Cross. Residents of the duplex's other unit were able to escape without injury, authorities said.

Investigators concluded that someone entered the unit, stole some items and then set fire to "common combustibles" on the sofa, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the Fire Marshal at (813) 274-7000 or use the anonymous tips page at www.tampagov.net/arsontips. A reward of up to $2,500 is available for information leading to the identification of the arsonist.

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