Fire hits home for 2nd time

A house on Seymour’s west side that was damaged by fire less than a month ago burned again Monday night.

That second fire at 326 Kessler Blvd. has prompted an investigation by the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott said.

The home, occupied by Brent S. Yates, did not have electric service at the time.

Yates was cited for utility fraud after the first fire reported Aug. 10. Utility fraud is a Class B infraction and comes with a fine. Abbott said it’s the same fine a motorist caught speeding would receive.

“It used to be theft,” he said.

The citation stems from an investigation after the first fire revealed the Duke Energy electric meter was missing at the home, but the house — owned by Yates’ father, William Yates — was still receiving electric service.

At the time, Abbott said, investigators were unable to determine a cause for the fire, but obtaining electricity without the meter might have played a role, he said.

Investigators spoke with Brent Yates during Monday night’s fire. He said he had left the house shortly before the fire started, Abbott said. The fire was reported at 9:13 p.m.

Police said they believe Yates and his girlfriend were living in the house even though there was no electricity, Abbott said.

Seymour Fire Chief Brad Lucas said no one was home or injured in Monday’s fire, including his firefighters. He said the fire started in the attic area of the house, which had been converted into a living area.

He estimated damage to be about $20,000.

Detectives C.J. Foster and Brian Moore joined Lucas and the investigator from the fire marshal’s office Tuesday at the home.