INDIAN SPRINGS -- A weekend fire that burned about 40 acres of a former orchard and destroyed two vacant houses and several outbuildings was either accidentally or intentionally set, Deputy State Fire Marshal Ed Ernst said Monday morning.
"An outside heat source had to have been brought into the house," Ernst said of the fire off Park Head Road southeast of Hancock. "We can't rule out accidental or intentional."
The house where the fire started had no electrical service, Ernst said. The property is owned by Fairview Orchards Landbesitz Inc. and is leased by a hunt club, Ernst said.
While the lane to the property had a locked entrance, Ernst said it would not be difficult for trespassers to gain entry on an ATV or on foot. The house where the fire started has had evidence in the past of trespassers getting inside and leaving behind trash, he said.
The house had been boarded up recently after boards were pulled down to gain entrance, Ernst said.