Fire burns Coventry home of ex- police and ex-fire employee - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Fire burns Coventry home of ex- police and ex-fire employee

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis 

mcurtis@abc6.com

A house fire is arousing some suspicion in the Town of Coventry.

While investigators have not labeled the fire arson, they are concerned it happened at the home of someone with a troubled past.

Investigators remained on the scene most of the day, following a house fire at 9 Grant Street in Coventry Monday night.

Sources tell us that home owner Raymond Tarbox, told investigators no one was home when the fire broke out, and that he was shopping at a nearby Wal-Mart.

"We have the Coventry Police involved, we have the State Fire Marshal's office involved and my Fire Marshal investigating into causality," said Chief Andrew Baynes of the Central Coventry Fire Department.

But sources tell ABC6 that's it's highly unusual to have police detectives investigating - along with the state - unless the fire is deemed suspicious.

The chief says labeling it suspicious is not his call to make.

"It would be up to those authorities to declare it to be into that type of descriptor," said Chief Baynes.

But sources tell ABC6 Raymond Tarbox survived another house fire about five years ago, at the site of a now rebuilt home on Ten Rod Road in Exeter.

And there are other factors arousing their curiosity.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "ABC6 News has confirmed that the homeowner, where the fire occurred – Raymond Tarbox – used to be employed by the West Greenwich Police Department."

Court records indicate Tarbox was forced to resign after he stole thousands of dollars in evidence when he was a dispatcher there.

He had also been a Hopkins Hill firefighter, but his arrest ended that.

"What happened in West Greenwich was there was some missing money from an evidence locker room. He was subsequently charged with that, so at that point we suspended him indefinitely from our department," said Hopkins Hill Fire Chief Frank Brown.

No one has called Tarbox a suspect, but sources tell us his past is raising eyebrows as his house fire remains under investigation.

Investigators have collected evidence at the scene of Monday night's fire in Coventry, but it could be days before they know the exact cause.

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