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Intentionally set fire causes estimated $20,000 in damage at Topeka home where man’s body was found

Topeka Fire crews responded to a house fire Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, at 608 SW Lincoln St.
Topeka Fire crews responded to a house fire Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, at 608 SW Lincoln St.(Topeka Fire Dept.)
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 8:54 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A house fire that authorities said was intentionally set caused an estimated $20,000 in damage Tuesday night at a residence in the midtown area of Topeka.

Crews were called around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday to a two-story house at 608 S.W. Lincoln, where the fire was reported.

The house was the same one where a man’s body was found earlier in January. Police ruled the man’s death as a homicide.

First-arriving crews found heavy smoke and flames coming from two sides of the house, said Topeka Fire Department spokesman Alan Stahl.

Crews began extinguishing the blaze from outside the house, keeping it confined to the residence where it started, Stahl said.

Once conditions allowed, Stahl said, firefighters were able to enter the burning house, where they performed a primary search.

No one was found inside the residence, which Stahl said was vacant at the time of the fire.

Stahl said firefighters were running three hose lines at once to get the fire under control.

Traffic was blocked on S.W. 6th Avenue between Lane and Clay streets while crews worked.

A Topeka Fire Department investigator was called to the scene to determine where the fire started and the cause of the blaze.

The preliminary investigation indicated the fire was incendiary in nature, or intentionally set.

All of the estimated $20,000 loss was to the structure. There was no dollar loss listed for any of the home’s contents.

The house is the same address where Topeka police found Mack Lee, 39, deceased on Jan. 14. Authorities have said they are investigating the death as a homicide. According to WIBW records, Lee’s death was the city’s first and only homicide of the year as of Jan. 26.

Anyone with information about Tuesday night’s fire may call Shawnee County Crime Stoppers at 785-234-0007.

WIBW multimedia journalist Phil Anderson contributed to this report.

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