OAKLAND CITY—The Indiana State Fire Marshal's office is investigating a large fire that occured Monday night at 331 S. Mulberry Street house which was recently placed on the Blight Elimination Project demolition list in Oakland City.

Oakland City Fire Chief Jim Deffendall says the cause of the blaze is considered suspicious.

Deffendall said crews arrived on the scene around 12:45 a.m. and found the home completely engulfed in flames.

He said it took the entire morning to extinguish.

“It was a tough fire," Deffendall said.

"We were there a total of nine hours — about five hours initially and were called back again later that morning. When I arrived at about five ‘til one, I parked in the parking lot at the Cozy Cove and I could feel the heat from there.”

Oakland City Mayor Hugh Wirth said the structure will remain on the blight elimination list and is scheduled to be bid out for demolition at the end of the month.

“The homes haven’t been bid out yet, so it’s not like we have to adjust the bid because there is less effort to clean it up now,” Wirth said.

Deffendall noted no gas or electric utilities were running to the house at the time.

A neighbor reported that the roof and siding on his home were damaged as a result of flying embers.

In addition to damage to the neighboring home, Deffendall said a fire truck nozzle was also destroyed during the incident.

Oakland City, Buckskin, Columbia Township, Barton Township , Francisco and Somerville Fire Departments, as well as a water plant operator, assisted in extinguishing the fire.

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