CLARKSVILLE, Ind. – On Friday, the Clarksville, Indiana Police Department announced its Facebook page that a suspect is in custody for the fire at the site of George Rogers Clark’s home the day before. Louisville was founded by Clark in 1778.
What would you like to know
- The historic Louisville founder’s home site in Clarksville, Indiana was destroyed by fire on Thursday
- On Friday, a number of Indiana agencies, from local to state level, were investigating
- Shortly before 5 p.m. ET on Friday, the Clarksville Police Department posted on their Facebook page that a suspect was in custody
Jason Fosse is the suspect the Clarksville Police Department (CPD) identified Friday via a Facebook message as “a suspect in the Clark Cabin fire at the George Rogers Clark Historic Site.” The post asked for advice on his whereabouts. About two hours after this Facebook post, CPD posted that Fosse was in custody.
The Clarksville Fire Department responded to a fire at the George Rogers Clark Historic Site on Thursday, where George Rogers Clark’s original site is located.
“When I arrived the cabin was fully involved with the fire going through the roof and all the windows and doors. I actually saw it start to come in through the logs and then the porch had already started to collapse, ”Clarksville Fire Department Chief Brandon Skaggs told Spectrum News on Friday.
Skaggs said he received a call shortly after 6 p.m. ET Thursday indicating that the Clark cabin was on fire.
“I live very close to the region. I actually looked outside my house, and I could see the smoke so I answered. I was the second unit on the scene behind the first fire company to arrive, ”Skaggs said.
With views of the Ohio River and downtown Louisville, the burnt down cabin was a replica of Clark’s retirement home.
According to Falls of the Ohio State Park’s websiteClark’s original house was destroyed in 1854. So in 2001 an 1830 cabin was located on the site.
“The main factor was the age of this wood which made it burn much faster than a newer structure likely would,” said Jim Hash, Indiana conservation officer.
Several agencies were on site to investigate the fire on Friday.
“We are helping the Indiana State Fire Marshal and my Fire Marshal’s office. We are investigating on the fire side, ”Skaggs said. He said these teams recreated the scene, while the evidence gathering was done in collaboration with other agencies.
Nash is in the law enforcement division of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the law enforcement portion of the investigation.
“We have several state and local agencies, which include the fire marshal, state police, local fire departments, as well as our service related to this particular site as a state location, which are all working in conjunction with each other to find out the cause of the fire, ”Hash told Spectrum News.
The structure next to Clark’s cabin called the McGee cabin was not damaged. According to Falls of the Ohio State Park’s website, the hut is modeled after a typical early 19th-century slave hut and is meant to help tell the story of Clark’s two indentured servants.
Skaggs also told Spectrum News that at the same time the crews were putting out the Clark Cabin fire, he also had crews trying to put out three fires on a nearby walking trail known as the Ohio River Greenway. However, the Clark cabin was the only structural fire.
The original cabin was also an important part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark was William Clark’s younger brother. The historic home site is where William met Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Several residents like Virgil Hertling came to see the damage on Friday while the investigation was unfolding. However, for Hertling, what happened strikes closer to home as he was volunteering at the historic site, before it was closed due to the pandemic.
“It’s just a tragedy what happened here because it’s such an important part of our history,” Hertling said.