Arson suspected in fire at Clinton's early childhood home in Hope

FILE — The President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home in Hope is shown in this 2013 file photo.
FILE — The President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home in Hope is shown in this 2013 file photo.

Authorities are investigating after a suspected arson early Friday at President Bill Clinton's early childhood home in Hope.

Hope Police Department chief J.R. Wilson said a motorist spotted flames shortly after 3:15 a.m. at the Clinton Birthplace National Historic Site on South Hervey Street.

When firemen arrived a short time later, flames were shooting 8 feet into the air on one side of the structure, Wilson said. The fire was quickly extinguished and only one interior room was damaged by flames.

Arson is suspected because investigators smelled an accelerant at the scene. There was also graffiti in the area, Wilson said, cautioning the crime may have been the work of juveniles. He said was no indication it was done out of political hatred toward Clinton.

Clinton lived in the home as a child before moving to Hot Springs. It was designated as a National Historic Site in 2011.

See Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.