Springfield fire that damaged four Rice Street houses under investigation

The causes of a Friday fires that destroyed one house and damaged three others on Rice Street in Springfield remain under investigation.

The Springfield Fire Rescue was dispatched around 4:30 p.m. to the 500 block of Rice Street, said Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal Matt Smith.

The fire started at 508 Rice St., which was abandoned. The cause of the fire has not been determined at the house, where it was unsafe for firefighters to enter. Crews were on scene for nearly three hours, Smith said.

A neighboring structure was damaged by the flames, with the siding of the building melting. The occupants of that house were not home at the time, Smith said.

A third building, also boarded up, was damaged by the flames. An estimate for damage to the neighboring houses has not yet been determined, Smith said.

Firefighters also were called to a building on fire across the way in the 600 block of Rice Street around the same time as the houses in the 500 block, Smith said. The origin of this fire was a mattress in the building’s basement. Damage from the fire is estimated at $5,000. Firefighters extinguished the flames and were on scene for roughly an hour.

There were no injuries reported.

The Rice Street fires are incendiary, Smith said, and “highly suspicious.” No witnesses reported seeing a person entering or exiting any of the houses involved.

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