FORT DODGE, Iowa — Investigators in Fort Dodge said arson is to blame for a house fire Wednesday morning.

Firefighters were called to a home in the 500 block of North 17th Street around 7:30 a.m., according to Fort Dodge Fire Rescue. When they arrived, flames were shooting out of the front and side windows of the home.

The house has been vacant, but neighbors reported seeing squatters inside throughout the summer and shortly before the fire. Crews quickly searched the home to make sure no one was inside and determined anyone inside had been able to get out on their own and had already left before fire crews arrived on the scene.

Firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to the homes on either side of the residence.

The home was heavily damaged by fire, heat, and smoke. The investigation into the fire continues.