MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 19, 2012

Police investigate fire as arson

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Muskogee officials are looking into an arson report after a woman’s house was torched early Tuesday morning.

Annette Fowler told police she was on her couch just before 6 a.m. at 1318 Locust St. when she heard a knock at the door, Muskogee Police Department Lt. Bobby Lee said. Fowler reported going to another room, only to return to the living room to find two men, one of whom was pouring gasoline on the floor.

Fowler told officers the man set the floor on fire and then left with his alleged accomplice.

Lee said police investigators didn’t have much information regarding the two suspects.

“She said there were two guys, but didn’t have a description of them,” Lee said. “She couldn’t say if they were old or young, black or white, tall or short. We don’t have much to go on.”

Assistant Muskogee Fire Department Fire Marshal Derrel Jones said samples had been taken from the house and sent to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for tests.

“It may take two to four weeks to get the results of those tests back,” Jones said.

The tests are done to check for accelerants — in this case, gasoline, Jones said — that may have sparked the fire.

The majority of the home’s interior was charred. A pile of burned rubble had been swept near the home’s entrance. The home’s siding had melted off near windows where flames escaped during the fire. Some of the siding hung off the home Tuesday afternoon, blowing in the wind.

A pair of children’s bicycles rested against the side of the home, apparently untouched by the fire. However, Jones said Fowler told authorities she was the only resident of the house.

“She told us she was the only one that lived there,” Jones said.

Attempts by the Muskogee Phoenix to reach Fowler Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.