Investigators have determined that an early morning fire that destroyed a vacant house in Temple Thursday was intentionally set.

The fire in the 1200 block of North 10th Street was reported shortly after 3 AM. It took firefighters an hour to get the blaze under control, and another three-and-a-half to clear the scene. The damage was so extensive that a Temple Public Works Department excavator was required to clear debris, allowing firefighters to extinguish hot spots.

The structure, which had been undergoing remodeling, was a total loss. A home next door received heat damage to its exterior, but did not catch flame. No injuries were reported.

Temple's Fire Marshal's Office determined that the fire was intentionally set, and Temple Fire spokesman Thomas Pechal said Thursday afternoon that there have been eleven cases of intentional burns in Temple since January 1. Pechal said investigations of six such cases had been closed with either an arrest or a referral to the Bell County District Attorney's Office.

Temple's Fire Marshal's Office is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone willfully setting fires in Temple. Information can be submitted via phone at (254) 298-5955 or email at

Fire emergencies should be reported to 9-1-1 services.