Arson suspected in house fire


Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 10:41 p.m.
A suspicious late-night blaze destroyed an Alachua County home Monday, the State Fire Marshal's Office reported.
No one was injured in the fire that consumed a wood-frame home in the 16500 block of West County Road 1491 near Alachua, according to Alachua County Fire Rescue.
An Alachua County Sheriff's Office report lists the fire as a possible arson case.
Mark Hughes with Alachua County Fire Rescue said Tuesday that the blaze remains under investigation.
"We're not sure what happened," Hughes said. "Neighbors reported hearing popping sounds, so we're not sure if it was a propane tank that was leaking. Basically by the time the crew got there it had already gone down."
When firefighters arrived, they found the wood-framed home had burned to the ground, and a shed was engulfed in flames.
Neighbors spotted flames shooting from the home at about 11:30 p.m. and called 911.
"It sounded like it could have been a gunshot," neighbor Diane Ehlert said about the first sound she and her husband, Mel, heard. That was followed soon after by a loud "boom."
Nearby residents looked out to see plumes of fire blazing up from the residence of Darleen Beville, 31. Beville and her two children were not at home at the time, Hughes said.
Jennifer Langston, an investigator with the State Fire Marshal's Office, said friends later told authorities Beville and her family were staying with them.
Ehlert said she last saw the woman and her two young sons at the home last week.
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact the Alachua County Sheriff's Office or report the information to the State Fire Marshal's Office at (800) NET-FIRE, Langston said.
Lise Fisher can be reached at (352) 374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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