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Last updated on Saturday, September 15, 2012
(WASHINGTON) - A Sept. 1 fire at 112 1/2 Main St. was intentionally set, according to Washington Fire Chief Dave Rhoads, who got the news from the State Fire Marshal's Office this week.
By Andrea McCann Washington Times Herald reports, according to Rhoads, there are no suspects in the case.
The building is one in a row of buildings owned by Mary Wright. The bottom is vacant, according to Rhoads, but the upper level has two apartments.
"That building has a front and rear entrance," he said. "The fire started between the two apartments in the hallway."
Jennifer Rasche was in the apartment that runs the length of the building. She later told Rhoads it was her ex-husband's apartment and she'd just arrived there that day. She opened a door and saw smoke and called the fire department. She was trapped and couldn't get out of the building.
Rhoads said smoke was showing when firefighters arrived, and Rasche was at a window on the back of the building. Firefighter Dwayne Murphy climbed the engine ladder and saved Rasche.
Murphy said Rhoads, Firefighter Steve Hedrick and Battalion Chief Kevin Pride assisted him with the rescue. He said although he's been at the scene of several rescues in his 10 years as a firefighter, this was the first he personally handled.
Rhoads said generally people get out burning buildings on their own, so it doesn't often happen that someone's inside when the fire department arrives.
"We've had three this year," he said. "Prior to that, I hadn't had three in my 21 years."
Earlier in the summer, Hedrick pulled an unconscious male out of the bedroom of a burning residence on Southwest Fifth Street, and last spring people were trapped in a burning apartment building on Northeast Seventh Street. One woman didn't make it out of that fire.
Rhoads said Rasche was not injured in the fire and signed a release for the ambulance crew. He called damage from the fire "moderate."
"It's salvageable," he said, adding most of the damage was in the hallway and there was a lot of smoke damage.
He said 13 firefighters were on the scene fighting the fire until about midnight. However, they stayed on site until 1 a.m. to monitor hot spots. There was some concern the fire would spread through adjacent buildings, so Vincennes City Fire Department was on call in case their ladder truck was needed. Rhoads said they weren't needed.
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