By Debbie Carson, Online Editor | UPDATE: Aug. 31 5:40 p.m.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Investigators are still working the scene of what they are calling a “suspicious” house fire on 20th Place SW in the Vero Beach Highlands neighborhood, according to Sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Luther. Crime scene technicians were called out to the home after firefighters put out a blaze there and noticed something “suspicious in nature” and called out the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Multi-Agency Criminal Enforcement Unit, according to Luther, who added that there was “possible illegal activity” going on inside the home.What that activity might be remains under investigation. Luther said that both the Fire Department’s arson team and MACE were working together to determine where and how the fire started.Firefighters were called out to a home in the 600 block of 20th Place SW, Vero Beach, after 7 p.m. when a caller reported black smoke coming through the roof and flames in the back yard.
Fire crews ran into difficulty fighting the fire due to blockages in a hallway, according to conditions reported over a police scanner. One firefighter reported that it looked like the house was undergoing some sort of renovations or remodeling.
No one was reported home at the time of the fire. And no injuries were reported. The extent of the damage to the home was not available.
Neighbors reported hosing down their own homes and landscaping for fear of the fire spreading to their properties.
John Fabiano, who lives behind the house under investigation, told VeroNews.com that he and his wife rarely see the residents of the home and noticed lights on just the night before.
He also reported hearing an explosion and seeing blue flames shoot out from the rear of the house. What may have caused the explosion remains under investigation.
This article will be updated as more details become available.(Staff photographer, Keith Carson, contributed to this report.)