A fire Sunday afternoon in an abandoned house on Miller Ave. near Tam High has been deemed suspicious by Mill Valley Fire officials.
Mill Valley Fire Chief Jeff Davidson said arson is not suspected as the cause of the two-alarm blaze, which was completely extinguished within two hours after it was reported at 4 p.m. Sunday. But he said the fire "was suspicious in nature" because it's an abandoned building that has no electricity.
Davidson said Joel Coopersmith, who owns the property at 542 Miller Ave., is working with the fire department officials to have the building demolished quickly.
The house has been widely known as a regular hangout for high school kids, and Mill Valley Police Chief Angel Bernal said officers have been called there at least twice in recent years on reports of kids smoking marijuana at the house. Bernal said officers have made a number of additional "community policing" visits to the house to check it out.
Coopersmith said the 1.5-acre property has been been for sale and is currently in escrow. In March 2010, the Mill Valley City Council approved a “vesting tentative map” for Coopersmith to build 16 residential units on the property, which behind and up the hill from the Mill Valley Pet Clinic.
Coopersmith said use of the abandoned home has been an ongoing issue despite the fact that it has boarded up for years.
"They keep breaking in," he said.