An early Wednesday fire at a duplex under construction on Second Street in Lebanon appears to have been intentionally set, according to a Lebanon Fire District spokesman.

Firefighters responded to the house at 1375 Second Street at about 6 a.m. and saw extensive smoke coming out of the garage doors.

Division Chief Jason Bolen said that an incident commander performed a walk-around of the structure and encountered a male who was leaving the rear of the house through a door. The man appeared to be injured.

An ambulance was called to the scene to assist the man, who had suffered smoke inhalation and blunt force trauma after he fell into an open crawl space access hole while attempting to extinguish the fire.

The man, who lives in the neighborhood, was transported to Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital with minor injuries.

Firefighters extinguished the fire, which had spread to a shower unit, and removed smoldering debris from the building.

The Lebanon Fire Marshal and Deputy Fire Marshal began an investigation into the fire’s origin and determined that what possibly began as a warming fire had spread into structural lumber and a shower insert.

Bolen said damage was limited to the shower insert, some wiring, interior wall studs and subflooring.

There was no electricity in the building.

“At this point in time we don’t have enough information to determine if there was criminal intent or if this was a warming fire which got out of control.” Bolen said.

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The Fire District is working in conjunction with the Lebanon Police Department on the investigation.

Bolen cautioned the public on the dangers of entering a structure believed to be on fire.

“Fire can spread very rapidly, and a person can be overcome by smoke in a matter of seconds.” he said. “The best thing that a citizen can do is to call 911 immediately and stay out of the structure. If you escape the structure, do not go back inside and keep others from entering.”

If anyone has information about this fire, they are asked to contact the Lebanon Fire District at 541-451-1901.

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