Dubuque homeowner discusses suspicious fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque homeowner discusses suspicious fire

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- One homeowner discussed the loss of his house and why it's considered a suspicious fire.

Michael Dennison owns the house at 595 Angella Street that burned on the evening of January 30.

"This here was the living room," he said Sunday, walking through what is now a charred, black box topped by singed, exposed rafters.

"I don't know, it's pretty tough," he said of the loss of his longtime home. "I'd have to say it's pretty comparable to or probably even a little bit worse than losing a good friend."

Dennison and his two young daughters were on vacation when he heard the news.

"Get the phone call from some of the neighbors, saying my house is on fire," he said. "At first I thought it was a joke. Then, a few seconds later, I was kind of thinking to myself, 'you know, that's a pretty bad joke.'"

The family and their two dogs were unharmed, but officials say a firefighter took a fall and injured himself.

"I guess he took a step and fell down there," Dennison said, pointing to a gaping, one-story hole where basement stairs used to be.

Both Dennison and officials say there's cause to call this fire suspicious.

"There was a incident that took place a few weeks back. I'm not going to elaborate too much into the details in that, but in that incident, there was some pretty firm threats that were made, so it's speculation, can't prove it," Dennison said.

He also said some of his valuables are missing.

"I had a 65-inch big screen TV in my basement area," he said. "That's gone."

As the investigation continues, Dennison faces starting from scratch.

"Everything's a complete loss," he said. "If it's not damaged by the fire, the smoke damage right there is pretty bad."

Just two days later, on February 1, another fire happened in Dubuque County. This one was at 746 Peru Road. Officials are also calling this one suspicious.

In a press release, officials said Richard Burns, 45, of 746 Peru Road; Eric Prine, 27, of Dubuque and Jason Laufenberg, 26, of St. Donatus were at the home, modifying a 20-pound LP tank. Officials say the contents of the tank ignited during the work, causing an explosion and resulting fire.

Officials say Burns and Prine were injured by the blaze and taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Both the Peru Road and Angella Street fires resulted in uninhabitable houses.

Officials are asking anybody with information on either of the fires to contact either the Dubuque County Crime Stoppers (563-588-0714) or Jo Daviess County Crime Stoppers (800-747-0117).

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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