Suspicious fire destroys landmark home VIDEO

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Poughkeepsie firefighters responded to a reported fire at 27 S. Clinton Street at 5:12 a.m. on Thursday and found heavy fire at the structure when they arrived minutes later.

The “heavy fire,” according to Fire Chief Mark Johnson, was encountered on the first floor and porch area of the structure commonly referred to as the “Halloween House” and “Netherworld” on the southeast corner of Church and South Clinton Streets.

A second fire was located on the western corner of the detached garage located on the parcel.

Firefighters were assisted on the scene by the neighboring Arlington and Fairview Fire Departments, with Roosevelt and Highland Fire Departments relocated to Poughkeepsie fire stations.

The house after the fire.

Chief Johnson indicated that the two-alarm fire was under control after approximately 85 minutes of work by the first responders.  It was declared fully extinguished by 40 firefighters at the scene at 7:35 a.m.

The fire has been declared suspicious because video footage from the scene shows an individual approach the front door of the residence with what appears to be a five-gallon gas container.  The footage, obtained by Mid Hudson News, shows the person pouring an accelerant on the front porch just moments before the fire began.

Lt. Paul Bucher and Firefighter Jim Brugger investigating evidence at the scene.

The fire that began on the corner of the garage also appears to have been ignited with the use of an accelerant, suspected to be gasoline.  At least one of the gas cans were recovered at the scene by investigators from both the fire and police departments.

There were two people home at the time of the fire and Chief Johnson said they both escaped without injury.  No firefighters were injured.

The fire is being investigated by the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department, and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone with information regarding the fire or the identity of the person in the video below is asked to contact the police at 845-451-7577.

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