Neighbors fear firebug is targeting their neighborhood - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Neighbors fear firebug is targeting their neighborhood

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 People living in a Toledo neighborhood worry a firebug is to blame for a string of vacant house fires that threatened their homes.

 Joseph Reyes say the flames from an overnight fire came so close to his home that he evacuated his family. "It was ferocious. The flames were so high and so bright. I'm color blind and I could even tell the orangeness of it."

 Heath Richardson says he could feel the heat of the fire at his house more than 30 yards away. Flames broke out  around 4 a.m. at a vacant house  at 723 South Erie, then jumped to the next house, 725 South Erie. The homes in this block are just a few feet apart, making the fire fight more complicated for the rescue teams. This happened just moments after crews put out another fire at a vacant house a block away.  Richardson called 911 and ran to warn his friend Joseph Reyes to get out of their house right next door to the fire.


Reyes recalls, "The first thing in my mind is where my kids are. I ran to my kids' room, woke them up. They didn't know what was going on. But yes, it was very scary."


Fire crews say at least one house is a total loss and will be demolished. Neighbors are worried that an arsonist may be at work.


Richardson said, "If this is arson, it needs to be stopped. This is the fifth of sixth house fire in the last two months. We lost two down there, now this one and possibly that one. That's going to leave five houses on this block. There's not much left."


 Battalion Chief John Kaminski says investigators are looking at the fire patterns, but he doesn't think there's a neighborhood arsonist. "In our experience, usually around this time of the summer, when everyone is out of school, there's a lot more activity. You see some of this suspicious type of fires popping up, especially in vacant dwellings."


 Reyes says he wants the vacant houses torn down and he and his neighbors are thinking about restarting their neighborhood watch program. "The house that caught on fire has already caught fire two or three times this year already. So this is like the third time. I think the best think is to get rid of it, so it doesn't catch on fire again and I don't have to worry about my house and I don't have to worry about going to bed and catching on fire."


 No one was injured in the fire. The fire is still under investigation.


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