Arson suspected in Clio fire

Published 8:00 am Friday, September 5, 2014

Eighty-one year old Eugene Johnson was found dead Thursday morning in his home in Clio after a fire broke out between 7 and 8 a.m. that morning.

According to reports, Johnson was in his home in Clio Manor Apartments at the time when the fire broke out.

Johnson was the father of longtime and current Clio Police Chief Richard Johnson.

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Johnson’s death and the cause of the fire are still under investigation by the U.S. Fire Marshals, said Steve Holmes the Public Information Officer with Alabama Fire Marshal’s office said the Fire Marshal’s office is working with several other investigators in relation to the fire.

“It is my understanding that there is more to this than just a fire call,” Holmes said. “We are investigating along with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and local authorities to determine the cause of death as well as the cause of fire. The fire marshal’s office will mainly be in charge of getting the information for the cause of the fire.”

Officials said earlier Thursday the homicide and arson are both being suspected in the case. After a preliminary investigation, Barbour County Sheriff Leroy Upshaw told reporters the death was being ruled as a homicide.

Alabama Fire Marshal, Ed Paulk, said the fire was still currently under investigation, and the fire marshal’s office was not prepared to make a full statement at this time concerning the cause of the fire or the nature of Johnson’s death.

“There was a death involved, but we don’t know yet the cause of the death or the cause of the fire,” Paulk said. “We’re still in the midst of investigating it to determine what happened.”