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Athol house fire deemed suspicious

ATHOL — The fire that destroyed a High Street house has been deemed suspicious by investigators.

The single-family home at 142 High St. was unoccupied at the time of the fire, which firefighters were called to at 4:53 p.m.

The fire, driven by winds, was going strong when the first fire engine showed up, and it quickly went to a second alarm, according to a news release by Athol Fire Chief Tom Lozier. Firefighters from Orange, Phillipston and Royalston were immediately called to assist, joined later by the Erving and Petersham departments.

One firefighter sustained minor injuries after slipping on ice that formed in the night’s single-digit temperatures, but he was released after being evaluated at Athol Memorial Hospital, according to Lozier.

Lozier said most of the building’s contents had been removed before the fire.

Town police and fire departments, as well as the state Fire Marshal’s Office, are investigating the cause.

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