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The Ava Fire Department was called to a structure fire at 501 South Jefferson St. just before 9 p.m. Sunday. Upon arrival firemen found a small fire in the utility room at the rear of the house. The fire was quickly extinguished.
Due to the nature of the fire, and after questioning the homeowner, Rhonda Frye, it was determined the fire was suspicious in nature and investigator John Matney from the Missouri Fire Marshal’s Office was called to further investigate the incident.
Although the exact cause of the fire was not determined, it was determined that the fire was set in a trash can.
Anyone who has information as to who may have been in the area around the time the fire started, or other information that might contribute to the investigation is asked to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Ava Police Department, or the Missouri Fire Marshal’s Office. Matney reminds the public that a reward of up to $5,000 is offered to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest in an arson case. The Missouri Arson Hotline number is 1-800-39-ARSON (800-392-7766).
Ms. Frye said she was in bed asleep when the fire started and was awakened by smoke alarms. The presence of functioning smoke alarms in the home probably saved her life.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and Ava Police Department assisted fire department personnel in the investigation Sunday night.