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Fire victims' home burglarized

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Lewisburg family forced from their home by an attic fire last week was victimized four days later by burglars and personal possessions valued at $3,375 were reported stolen.

Carmen R. Johnson of Glenn Avenue, his wife and children have been living in a motel since their home caught fire Jan. 7, city reports show. A recently installed wood stove flue apparently ignited the roof.

Johnson returned to his home on Tuesday when he found "the back bedroom window busted out and a ladder under the window," Police Cpl. Kevin Patin reported.

Missing items included a 50-inch flat-screen LG TV valued at $2,800, a computer, toolbox, hand- and power-tools, according to Patin's report.

Johnson hadn't been at his home since 9 a.m. Monday when he left a brand-name cleaning service to do some work in the house, the corporal said.

Fire Chief Larry Williams reported last week that some roof framing, rafters and some wiring would have to be replaced to make the house useable again.

"If everything goes well for them, they should be able to get back in their home before February, or sooner," Williams said.

"They had a problem with their central unit, so he installed a wood heater in their finished garage," Williams said. "They had their first fire in it (Wednesday.)"

"The fire started in the attic where their flue pipe goes through the roof decking," he continued. "I don't know that it was improper installation or a malfunction or whether the pipe got too hot, but it had come loose.

"The roof is there, but the pipe isn't anymore. It burned approximately 500 square feet of attic space.

"As far as the living quarters of the home, that is salvageable," the fire chief said.

Police Detective Sgt. David Henley says Detective Scott Braden has been assigned to the case and appealed to the public for information about the crime. The detectives' office phone number is 359-3800. Crimestoppers' number is 359-4867.