Fire called suspicious, could be meth lab

The state fire marshal is investigating a duplex fire that caused $50,000 in damage.

Authorities said an early morning fire at a duplex in Columbia which left two families displaced is still under investigation and authorities call it suspicious.

The cause of the fire at a duplex in the 2200-block of Chapel Hill Road in the early morning hours of January 9 is still undetermined.

Crews were called to a duplex in just before 2:30 a.m. And reported seeing smoke and fire from the road as the arrived.

Firefighters were able to put out the fire in about twenty-minutes.

In a press release, officials with the Columbia Fire Department said the occupants of the upstairs apartment left the home before fire crews arrived.

When first responders got to the scene, they found items consistent with a methamphetamine lab in the garage to the duplex, which is where they think the fire started.

Columbia Fire Department Investigators and Columbia Police Department Detectives conducted extensive interviews with those the residents and their acquaintances.

Authorities said most of those interviewed were cooperative, but some were not and they are still wanting to talk with one person who hasn't been located.

Investigators said this remains an open and active investigation.

Anyone with relevant information should contact the Columbia Fire Department, Fire Marshal's Division.

Damage is estimated at $50,000.