State arson investigators probe "unusual" house fire

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

QUITMAN COUNTY, GA (WTVM) -  Charred pieces and rubble are all that remains of a Georgetown, Georgia home where a husband and wife lived with their four children.

The residents say this is the second time this year they've lost everything they own in a fire.

Quitman County Sheriff's officials say their investigation into what sparked the devastating blaze has raised some red flags.

Tuesday, investigators with the State Fire Marshal's Arson Unit were called in by Quitman County Sheriff Steve Newton to sift through the ashes.

"The fire was somewhat unusual in the location and intensity of it. We received some information from confidential sources in the past that there were some automatic weapons, some illegal weapons stored in this house," Sheriff Newton said.

Betty Peterson, who lived there with her four kids and common law husband, says she was on her way to Columbus when the fire started. Last November she lost all of her family's belongings in what she says was an electrical fire. Now, her new home 8 miles away has burnt to the ground.

Peterson's husband was home at the time and got out with burns on his arm. The sheriff says it looks like the flames started on the front porch, outside of the house and he hopes the state's investigators be able to tell him more.

"He is going through the scene, doing a thorough search to find out if there was an accelerant used in this fire or if there were any illegal weapons in the fire scene," Newton added.

Members of the State Arson Unit and Quitman County Sheriff's Office are still doing interviews and collecting possible evidence. There's no word on how long their investigation will take.

©2010 WTVM. All rights reserved.