2 West Louisville fires under investigation by arson unit


by Sherrell Hubbard


Posted on May 8, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Updated Thursday, May 8 at 7:05 PM

Structure fire on Humler Street

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Two West Louisville fires are being investigated by the arson unit.  Both occurred at vacant houses. The fires happened in close proximity to each other and both blazes took place in the early hours of Thursday morning.

A big fire in West Louisville destroyed a house early Thursday morning. Neighbors say they were awakened by popping sounds just before 4 a.m. They say flames shooting from the home, located in the 2100 block of Grand Avenue.

Neighbor Keith Kline lives a few doors down from the house that caught fire.  He says it took crews a while to put out the fire.

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"It woke me up around 4 in the morning," he says.

When firefighters arrived flames were pouring from windows.  Officials say the fire moved quickly, giving them some challenges.  Flames ripped through the basement, main level, and second floor.  
"The fire just spread rapidly. It had a good head start on us. It had gotten into the walls and worked its way upward. It's a large house," Lieutenant Colonel Carroll Carroll Haueter said.

Hauter said the arson unit has been called in to determine the cause of the fire.

Kline says he has seen shootings and stabbings on the block, so the prospect of arson is not surprising. 

Firefighters said no one appeared to live in the home.

A few hours after firefighters got the Grand Avenue fire out, another West Louisville fire began.  Crews responded around 10:30 a.m. to a house in the 800 block of Humler Street.  Heavy smoke and flames poured from the home. Officials said the fire most likely started in the middle of the home.

Louisville Metro Fire Spokesperson Sal Melendez called the fire "suspicious."  Fire officials said the home did not have any working electricity.

"This is the second we've had today," he said. 

That home was believed to be vacant as well.  It was previously boarded up but when the fire crews arrived, the back door was pried open. Crews got that blaze under control in about 10 minutes.

Wanda McDonald lives nearby.  She said someone was squatting in the house. 

No one was hurt in either fire.

This is the second vacant house fire crews responded to on May 8. The fires were just blocks away from each other.