Witnesses sought in arson probe

7 May, 1991

Witnesses sought in arson probe

Passers-by urged to call police

By John P. McAlpin
Staff Writer

Investigators are looking for anyone who might have witnessed suspicious activity near the Princeton Township home destroyed by a spectacular fire last week.

The fire, at the Route 206 home of Nicholis Hayer, was ruled an arson. Investigators say a flammable substance was poured on the basement floor and set fire.

Lab results expected soon are expected to tell police exactly what the flammable substance was.

Meanwhile, detectives are trying to piece together clues from the remains of the house.

Police said they hope that someone drove by the house just before or after the start of the fire and saw something.

“That’s a busy street out there,” Lt. Samuel Bianco said. “A lot of people had to drive back and forth near there at that time,” he said.

“If anybody saw something they should call the detective bureau. We’d appreciate it,” Lt. Bianco said.

The fire was reported at approximately 12:46 p.m:, on April 29 at the house built by Mr. Hayer approximately a half-mile north of Ewing Street.

Moments later, flames leaped above the roof line on the three-story wood house.

For fire investigators, that was enough to suggest that foul play may have been involved, township Fire Marshal Ted Cashell said. That fire was fast, very fast. It was abnormally fast for that type of house,” Mr. Cashell said.

The flames damaged more than 75 percent of the house, according to Mercer County Prosecutor Paul T. Koenig.

“That fire was deliberately set,” he said last week.

Specialists in arson investigation from the-county prosecutor are. working with local police, officials said.

Preliminary findings showed that a flammable liquid had been poured in several spots on the basement’s concrete floor, officials said.

Anyone with any information may call Princeton Township detectives (609) 921-2100.

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