ERNEST — Unattended cutting tools have been blamed for a fire that destroyed a vacant house Saturday afternoon.
Flames spread from the basement to the attic of a house at 512 First St. after the owner, Bill Dailey, had been working with a propane torch, a fire official said.
Dailey discovered the fire about 4 p.m., when he returned from shopping for home-improvement materials. The house had long been empty and posted for sale, and Dailey had been making extensive repairs, said Creekside Fire Department Chief Pete Yacovone.
Dailey and his family recently moved out and lost no personal possessions, but Yacovone said the structure is lost.
“It’s done,” Yacovone said.
“They had put a lot of money into trying to fix it up. Bill had been working in the basement, doing plumbing work with a torch, and left to exchange some materials at Lowe’s. He was gone about an hour, and when he returned, he saw flames coming out of the attic,” he said.
Homes in the area are widely spaced, Yacovone said, so no neighbors’ houses were jeopardized.
The Creekside, Marion Center and Indiana fire departments extinguished the fire. Yacovone said no one was injured.
Firefighters left the scene about 7:30 p.m.
“The fire was connected with the work he was doing,” the chief said. Yacovone listed the cause of the fire as accidental.