State Fire Marshal: Florence's Larimore Home fire intentional; searching for arsonist

The Larimore Home on the campus of Mars Hill Bible School caught fire not once but twice over the summer.

Posted: Feb. 15, 2019 2:35 PM
Updated: Feb. 15, 2019 7:18 PM

The State Fire Marshal says a historic house in Florence was intentionally set on fire, and the hunt is on for an arsonist.

The Larimore Home on the campus of Mars Hill Bible School caught fire not once but twice over the summer.

The historic home caught fire on July 11 with minimal damage. Power to the home was cut for repairs.

Then on July 19 it caught fire again, but this time the home was engulfed in flames and the fire caused so much damage the school couldn't salvage it.

“Investigators determined this fire to be an intentionally set fire,” said Jennifer Bowen, Alabama Department of Insurance spokesperson.

For almost 150 years the Larimore Home stood but all that's left now is a plaque.

For many, the home hosted their weddings and meetings and was an integral part of the Mars Hill Bible School family.

David Williams is a 1969 graduate of Mars Hill Bible School and says along with going to school in the Larimore Home it hosted a lot of other big events in his life.

"Lots of memories. I went to second grade in the first room on the right,” he said. “When Linda and I were married we had our wedding reception in the Larimore Home.”

Dexter Rutherford, president of Mars Hill Bible School, said he hopes whoever is responsible will just come forward and own up to what happened.

"It pains everyone to just think that someone could have actually intended to start the fire,” he said. “Someone needs to be accountable for that and I hope and pray someone might have some information and can forward that to the authorities and we can truly get to the bottom of it.”

Anyone with leads can call the Alabama Arson Hotline at 1-800-654-0775 or report their tips online at http://firemarshal.alabama.gov.

Rutherford said they were able to salvage some windows, doors, and other items from the house and they plan to auction them off. He said they have some options on the table on how to keep the Larimore Home legacy alive.

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