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July 4 house fire in Ogdensburg still under investigation

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OGDENSBURG — It may be several more weeks before investigators determine the cause of a house fire Friday at 421 Park St. that did heavy damage to the back side of the structure but did not result in personal injury.

Ogdensburg fire officials said Tuesday that investigators have not ruled out arson and that they are still trying to determine the owner of the property because a lien against the home was sold recently at a city tax auction.

Ogdensburg Fire Department initially responded to the 11:11 p.m. blaze with five firefighters on duty and immediately called for backup. A total of 16 firefighters battled the blaze until 1:53 a.m. Saturday, according to fire officials.

Heuvelton Volunteer Fire Department provided backup at the Ogdensburg station.

Ogdensburg Fire Capt. James R. Lowery said the fire appears to have started in the rear of the two-story building and did heavy damage. He said it remained unclear whether the building was insured and said the cause of the fire has not been determined.

“Nobody lived there. We were told the home had just been sold at a tax sale,” Mr. Lowery said. “We’re still investigating.”

Mr. Lowery said the blaze is being investigated by both fire investigators and the Ogdensburg Police Department and arson has not been ruled out.

Tax records on file with the city comptroller’s office listed the 421 Park St. home as being owned by Billie Busch and Brad Rand. The property was scheduled for a June tax lien sale because $1,948.64 was owed in unpaid taxes. It was unclear at press time whether the city or a third party holds the lien.

Mr. Lowery said the structure was engulfed when firefighters arrived, and was hot enough to melt the vinyl siding and crack the windows of a neighboring home.

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