One arrested in connection with early morning fire

Flames consume abandoned house; origin suspicious

David A. Garceau, 38

David A. Garceau, 38

A man was charged Tuesday with first-degree arson after an early morning fire at 111 Adams St.

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A firefighter hastily climbs down a ladder as flames erupt from a second story window as members of the Jefferson City Fire Department battle a suspicious blaze early Tuesday.

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Jefferson City Fire and Police Department personnel survey the scene as firefighters attack from all angles while battling a suspicious blaze at 111 Adams St. early Tuesday morning.

David A. Garceau, 38, Jefferson City, was being held in the Cole County Jail on Tuesday on a $35,000 bond.

Garceau was listed as being homeless in the filing documents.

If convicted of the arson charge, a Class B felony, Garceau could be sentenced to prison for between five and 15 years.

Police reports show that officers patrolling in the downtown area at 12:48 a.m. Tuesday saw a large amount of smoke and began searching for its origin.

Officers found a vacant house on fire at 111 Adams St.

Interim Jefferson City Fire Chief Jason Turner said the fire started at the back of the building and quickly spread to the front.

“We had about a 10-minute window (to search the building) before flames came through the roof,” Turner said.

Officers located numerous subjects who were squatting in the vacant house and were able to escape the fire.

Detectives and the state fire marshal’s office were summoned to investigate.

After interviewing many of the victims who had been sleeping in the vacant building, detectives said the fire may have been set by one of the squatters.

A description of a suspect was given to patrol officers, who immediately found him walking in the area with a female.

After positively identifying and interviewing both suspects, a police news release said, detectives determined the man — later identified as Garceau — had started the fire inside the residence and knew that squatters were asleep inside the house.

EARLIER COVERAGE

One person has been taken into custody in connection with a fire at a home in Jefferson City, Tuesday morning.

Police reports show that at 12:48 a.m., officers patrolling in the downtown area observed a large amount of smoke and began searching for it origin.

Officers located a vacant house on fire at 111 Adams St.

The Fire Department immediately responded and began extinguishing the fire.

Officer’s located numerous subjects who were squatting in the vacant house and were able to escape the fire.

Detectives and the state fire marshal's office were summoned to investigate the fire.

Detectives were able to round up numerous subjects who were sleeping in the vacant house at the time of the fire and after interviewing the victims it was believed that the fire was possibly set by one of the squatters.

A description of the suspect was given to patrol officers who immediately located him on foot in the area walking with a female.

After positively identifying and interviewing both suspects, Detectives were able to determine the male suspect started the fire inside the residence and knew that squatters were asleep inside the house.

The male suspect was arrested for first-degree arson. David A. Garceau, 38, Jefferson City, was being held in the Cole County Jail on Tuesday on a $35,000 bond.

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Jefferson City firefighters and police are investigating a fire that gutted a two-story house at 111 Adams Street early Tuesday.

The blaze is being investigated as suspicious, according to Jason Turner, interim fire chief. Fire started around 1 a.m. at the back of the building and quickly spread to the front, he said.

Turner said an unknown number of homeless people apparently were inside the structure before the fire began. He is not certain that all the occupants have been accounted for, because the fire spread so quickly that firefighters did not have time to completely search the house before it was consumed in flames.

"We had about a 10-minute window (to search) before flames came through the roof," Turner said.

Police questioned individuals who were in the area to try to learn the circumstances of the fire. The State Fire Marshal's Office has been called in to investigate the cause.

Two men who claimed to be living in the house told police at the scene after the fire was out that they feared a friend of theirs on the second floor had not made it out alive, but investigators had not found any evidence to confirm that at the time.

Posted at 1:38 a.m. Tuesday:

Jefferson City firefighters responded after 1 a.m. to a house on fire near downtown.

The downtown business district and nearby neighborhoods filled with heavy smoke from the fire in the residential structure, located on the east side of Adams Street about a half block north of Capitol Avenue.

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