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‘Suspicious’ fire destroys Brandermill home in Chesterfield

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- An early morning fire appears to be suspicious in nature, according to investigators looking into the cause of a Wednesday morning house fire in the Brandermill neighborhood.

Just down the street, early Monday, there were two suspicious fires at the Wilton Square at Brandermill shopping complex on Genito Road.

Lt. James Elmore told CBS 6 the fires could be part of an even bigger investigation.

“We are considering that to be an arson fire as well, we haven’t connected them at this point, but that is definitely something that our investigators will look into,” explained Elmore.

Police received a call before 1:30 a.m. for a person breaking into vehicles along Millcrest Terrace, off Watermill Parkway, in Chesterfield.

Once officers arrived on scene, they found a trash can on fire along a walking trails. Shortly thereafter, police discovered a vacant three-story house fully engulfed in flames.

A neighbor told CBS 6 News he saw a man leaving the area, who he described as about six-feet tall, wearing tan pants and a dark hoodie.

The neighbor initially called 911 for the suspicious person breaking into cars.

"It all happened so quickly and within probably 10 or 15 minutes from the time I saw [the man] to the time I saw flames," he described. "I could feel the heat coming off the house just standing on my porch. It was quite an experience."

Officers searched the wood line behind the houses, but could not find the suspect.

No one was hurt in the fire.

Firefighters contained the flames in less than 40 minutes. A battalion chief said they attacked the fire from the outside the home because it was too structurally unsound for crews to enter the home.

The home was vacant for only a month and the homeowners recently painted readying it to put it on the market, according to neighbors.

This is a developing story. Witnesses can send news tips and photos here.