Roanoke Officials Investigating Arson at Abandoned House

Roanoke, VA - Investigators in Roanoke are looking for whoever is responsible for an overnight house fire.

Crews were called out to the 500 block of 13th St. SE at about 9 p.m.

The house is vacant and no one was hurt, and it has since been ruled an arson.

It happened in an area that has quite a few abandoned buildings, so the fire marshal dispatched a crew to go down into that neighborhood Wednesday to document what is vacant and what isn't.

The fire marshal says the fire was intentionally set on the second floor of the property. Firefighters needed about 20-minutes to take care of the trouble and they were able to keep the fire from spreading.

The area in general is in the way of a major VDOT project that has the state buying up many of these properties as they prepare for that project. So as a matter of caution, the city wanted to get a handle on what it was firefighters may face if they are needed in the area again.

"Looking to see if they are secure or unsecured and if we are finding them unsecured we are going in to look for hazards to the firefighters in the event we have additional fires," said Daniel Rakes, Roanoke City Fire Marshal.

The VDOT project, called the 13th Street/Hollins Road Improvement Project, is slated to begin next year. However, not all of the funding is yet in place, so an actual break ground date is still up in the air.