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Investigators say fire at Pacers Reggie Miller house was arson

July 15, 1997 GMT

FISHERS, Ind. (AP) _ Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller’s $1 million dream home went up in flames early on the morning of May 15.

More bad news came Monday, when authorities announced that the blaze had been intentionally set.

Calling the fire a ``twisted act,″ Miller offered a $10,000 reward _ to go along with an additional $7,000 that already had been offered _ for information that leads to a conviction in the fire.

``It saddens and amazes me that anyone could do such an ugly and hateful thing,″ Miller said.

``No amount of money can ever right this wrong, but bringing the guilty to justice will allow my wife and I the chance to put this matter behind us,″ he added.

Sgt. Eddie Moore of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department said evidence sifted from the ruins of the 14,000 square-foot home indicated an arsonist set the early morning blaze.

The ruins were searched by specially trained dogs, and debris collected over several days was tested by a private laboratory. The results confirmed the fire was set, but Moore and other officials declined to say whether an accelerant was used or where the conclusive evidence was found.

``I cannot say what evidence (the dogs) found, but at several locations throughout the house they indicated the possibility of something there,″ he said.

Neighbors in the affluent neighborhood reported hearing the sound of a vehicle leaving the area at a high rate of speed shortly before the fire was spotted. The home was on Geist Reservoir near the Hamilton County community of Fishers, located just northeast of Indianapolis.

Several items, including a $45,000 wedding ring belonging to Miller’s wife, Marita, were not found in the rubble, suggesting that the fire could have been set to destroy evidence from a burglary, Moore said. But he added that the items could have been destroyed by the intense blaze.

Aside from the ring, other missing items included Olympic memorabilia Miller picked up while helping Dream Team III win a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics, a Cartier watch, china, a purse collection and clothing.

Investigators had no firm leads or suspects. The fire struck as the couple was moving into the house. The home was undergoing a renovation, and the Millers were not home when the fire broke out.

``There are some people who we are filtering out, but nothing we feel that’s going to be real viable at this point,″ said Deputy Chief Keith Condra of the Fishers Fire Department.

The home sat on six wooded acres, with a gazebo, basketball court and tennis court nearby. The home had six bedrooms, a library, walnut parquet floors and a garden room with a 30-foot ceiling.

The fire’s price tag was put at about $2 million, including possessions.

Miller signed a four-year contract with the Pacers for a reported $36 million last year. He holds virtually every significant Pacers record for shooting and is only the second player in franchise history to have 2,500 points, rebounds and assists in his career.