The Waxahachie Fire Department is seeking information from the public on a suspicious fire that took place at the Penn Park Youth Center on Tuesday afternoon.
Firefighters were dispatched to the call at about 1:25 p.m. in the 400 block of Getzendaner St.
“We had received a call that we had heavy smoke showing from the community center on Getzendaner Street. When we got there we had light smoke showing from the rear of the building,” Waxahachie Fire Department Battalion Chief Randy Muirhead said. “We made entry to check the building on the north side door and found a small fire in the back room. It was contained right there to the back room. It was just a little bit of smoke throughout the building.”
Fire Marshal Dennis Crecelius said all of the doors to the youth center were either locked or blocked off due to a previous fire that took place on Aug. 7. The previous fire was ruled as arson. The investigation showed that lighter fluid had been sprayed around the windows on the building, which then caught a trash can on fire. Before the first fire the youth center had been home to the Rock Solid Boxing Program, which was ran by former professional boxer Earnest Smith.
Crecelius said the fire on Tuesday was found in a back room in the building on the carpet next to a weight bench on the floor. The fire appeared to be suspicious in nature due the fact that no gas or electric was running to the building, Crecelius said.
Parks and Recreation Director John Smith said the city was in the process of getting bids for the repair work to be able to allow the boxing gym to reopen when the fire happened on Tuesday.
Anyone with information about either fire is asked to call Crecelius at the fire department’s administration offices at 469-309-4200. The Waxahachie Fire Administration is located at 407 Water St.