Suspicious person reported on porch night of Cotham's fire, investigation continues

Suspicious person reported on porch night of Cotham's fire, investigation continues

SCOTT, Ark. (KTHV) --  The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office is still looking into the cause of the Memorial Day fire that destroyed Cotham's Mercantile in Scott.

The cause of a raging fire at the landmark Cotham's Mercantile late Monday night is still unknown, but Lt. Cody Burk the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office said investigators are following up on several leads.

They brought a dog out that can sniff for accelerates like gasoline or anything that would be used to create a fire.  However, the dog didn't find any signs of that at the scene.

But, Lt. Burk said that the Scott Fire Chief received a call from a woman claiming that she saw a man on the porch of Cotham's well after closing time on the night of the fire. The woman thought he looked "suspicious" and decided to share the information with the volunteer fire department.

"We'll try to run down that lead to see if that person might have been involved or just had been in the area and might know something useful for us," he said.

Arson investigators collected evidence from the scene and sent those samples to the state crime lab.

"We're just piecing together, photographing the burn patterns on what's left of the building trying to determine where it happened," Burk said.

At this point, Burk said nothing is being ruled out of their investigation.

"Being an older building it could have been anything from electrical to many different aspects as to how it could have started," he said.

Investigators plan to follow up with the witness as they await results from the state crime lab.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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