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Arson hits office of pro-impeachment congressman

Interior of the smoke-damaged campaign office
Interior of the smoke-damaged campaign office  

December 20, 1998
Web posted at: 7:43 p.m. EST (0043 GMT)

FARMINGTON HILLS, Michigan (CNN) -- Arsonists on Sunday struck a campaign office of a Michigan congressman who voted for all four House impeachment articles.

Republican Rep. Joseph Knollenberg's office in a Farmington Hills shopping center was damaged by smoke, Police Chief William Dwyer said.

An outside wall also was scorched in the 8:30 a.m. EST blaze, he said.

Large plywood campaign signs were set ablaze behind the rear of the office, Dwyer said.

"Under the signs, we found a rag with an unidentified accelerant," said Dwyer.

An eyewitness who evacuated from a nearby business said the flames reached 15 feet above the roof.


Knollenberg's chief of staff, Paul Welday, said he suspects the fire is linked to Knollenberg's Saturday vote on the House impeachment articles.

"Clearly, there were some folks trying to register their feelings in a very bizarre and dangerous way."

No one was injured in the blaze, but Dwyer said domestic terrorism charges would be added to the arson charge if the fire is related to the vote of the congressman.

"If this is retaliation against a congressman, there will be some federal charges," said Dwyer.

Knollenberg, a former insurance agent, was just elected to his fourth term from the mostly conservative Republican district.

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