SUMMITVILLE - A mobile home fire on Foundry Hill Road Sunday evening is being investigated as suspicious, Franklin Township Fire Chief Jim May said.
The department was called to the property just south of state Route 518 shortly before 5 p.m. after a neighbor reported seeing a fire.
The single-wide mobile home was already engulfed and a total loss by that time, and the tenant and his friends were watching, May said.
"He was burning it down so he could scrap the metal. If he is the property owner he is allowed to do that. He is not collecting insurance or anything," he added.
The man - whom the chief declined to identify for now-was in the process of moving out and had his belongings and furniture loaded into a vehicle at the end of the driveway, he said.
May did not want to disclose the man's name since an investigation is under way, and other than confirming the fire is being considered suspicious did not offer further details.
He did say it is unclear at this time if the man is the property owner or not, and that is also being investigated. The county sheriff's office was called to the scene and is assisting with the investigation.
When asked if the man was upset about their arrival, May indicated he was but offered no further comment. The state fire marshal's office was not called, he added.
Township and Salineville firefighters spent an hour and a half at the property making sure the fire did not spread to the wooded area or fields nearby.
"We controlled it to where it didn't proceed onto anybody else's property and extinguished it," he said.
The Hanoverton and Highlandtown departments were on standby and those at the scene returned to their stations around 6:20 p.m.
"It was definitely a windy night to even try burning anything," May said.