Arson Suspected in Fire at Clinton’s Early Childhood Home

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New York: An early Christmas morning fire at the first home of former U.S. President Bill Clinton in Arkansas is being investigated as arson, authorities said.

The blaze in the rear of the two-story white frame house in Hope was reported by a passing motorist at 3:17 a.m. Friday, according to J.R. Wilson, police chief of the southwestern Arkansas city.

The fire appeared to originate at the base of an exterior wall and rose about 8 feet midway up the house, Wilson said.

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A National Historic Site, the house belonged to Clinton’s grandparents and he lived there for four years after his birth in 1946, according to Arkansas’ state website.

“The building is in good shape, (and) the fire department extinguished the fire very quickly,” Wilson said.

Smell at the scene indicated an accelerant may have been used, Wilson said.

Tarona Armstrong, the home’s superintendent, said in a statement that the fire was confined to one portion of the house.

“At this time the extent of damages and the cause are unknown until the ongoing investigation is completed,” the statement said. “The house will be closed until further notice.”