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Fourth of July mobile home fire ruled arson
0711 arson
This Middleton Drive mobile home was a total loss after an Independence Day weekend fire. Arson has been ruled as the culprit, and the homeowner, who was not home at the time, lost everything in the blaze. - photo by Photo courtesy of the ECSO

A fire that destroyed a mobile home on Middleton Drive in the early hours of July 4 has been ruled an arson.

Fire crews and Effingham County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the fire at 243 Middleton Drive around 4:45 a.m. after a passer-by called 911, according to Dan Mealor, the ECSO’s newly-hired fire investigator.

The home was a “total loss,” said ECSO spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor. No injuries were reported.

Mealor ruled the fire as arson after examining the evidence at the scene, which included signs of a burglary.

“When the fire department arrived there, the front door was already forced open and there were items missing from the structure,” he said. “I talked to (the homeowner) about what should be in there, and those items were not.”

The homeowner lived alone in the single-wide mobile home, according to Mealor. He added that the man was in Florida for the Fourth of July and has been ruled out as having any involvement in the fire being set.

“There’s no insurance, no mortgage, so he’s got nothing to gain from it,” Mealor said. “He just lost everything.”

A reward of up to $10,000 is available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the arson, Ehsanipoor said.

Anyone with information can contact the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office at (912) 754-3449 or the Georgia Arson Control Hotline at (800) 282-5804. Callers can remain anonymous.

“The reward money is there, and we’re hoping that will persuade somebody to come forward,” Ehsanipoor said.