By Mike Fletcher
Tribune staff writer
A fire that caused an estimated $30,000 damage to a tax service business is being investigated as an arson, prompting the state fire marshal’s office to offer a $5,000 reward.
The fire at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, 1205 E. Markland Ave., remains under investigation.
While on patrol at 3 a.m. Wednesday, a Kokomo police officer noticed smoke coming from the business and alerted the Kokomo Fire Department.
An investigation revealed that someone had entered the building and set a fire, according to police.
Upon arrival, fire crews forcibly entered the front door of the business, which was locked. The rear door was shut, but was not locked. The fire was under control within 5 minutes and was contained to a storage room of the business, a fire report from the fire department stated.
KPD Officer Mike Sanders told fire crews there had been a string of burglaries in the area and to proceed with caution, the fire report stated. Interior crews were told to keep overhaul to a minimum until investigators could arrive on scene. Ventilation also was established in the business.
The utilities were disconnected at Jackson Hewitt due to the fire spreading to the walls and attic area of the storage room.
The fire marshal’s office is investigating the arson and is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with tips should call the hotline at 1-800-382-4624.