White Hall Home Burns, Possible Squatters Suspected

By Benjamin Cox on January 13, 2023 at 9:47am

A vacant home burned in White Hall Wednesday night under what is believed to be somewhat suspicious circumstances.

White Hall Fire Chief Gary Sheppard says his department and the Roodhouse Fire Department received the call for a structure fire at 219 Carson Street at 8:18PM on Wednesday: “Upon arrival, we had a vacant structure with nobody home and fire showing in the front room. We made a pretty quick attack and knocked it down and put it out pretty quickly. The house had been sitting there on fire probably for at least 2 hours. It finally got some air and then the fire broke out. Major damage to one room and minor damage done to the rest of the house. Nobody got hurt. I believe I had 15 firefighters there Wednesday night. We were on scene for about 2 hours.”

Sheppard says he has begun an internal investigation into the direct cause of the fire since the home has been vacant for some time and the homeowner lives out of the local area: “It appears, since the house was vacant, and this was after a preliminary investigation, it kind of show that there is a good possibility that maybe some squatters were kind of staying in this vacant house. The home had been vacant for probably a year or year and a half or so. It appears maybe [the squatters] may have accidentally started a fire somehow in the front room in a chair. We don’t know that to be positive at this time, but the back door to the home was unlocked. It just appears that probably some squatters were in the house and accidentally started the fire. Again, I don’t know that for sure. I still have an active investigation into it.”

Traffic was closed off on the street during the fire fight. The home is located about 2 ½ blocks south of the North Greene Unit District offices on White Hall’s east side.