Local fire departments suspect arson for house fires - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Local fire departments suspect arson for house fires

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - A string of vacant home fires has local fire departments investigating the possibility of arson, mainly because firefighters say there is no reason why a vacant home should be catching on fire. That possibility has residents concerned about the quality of their neighborhood.

"The problem with arson, is you can tell its arson, it's simple to see that, but it's difficult to capture and prove that in a court of law when to capture, make that arrest," said Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld of the Toledo Fire Department.

Two overnight vacant home fires have been considered suspicious and are being investigated.

"If you have a vacant house, there should be no reason why a vacant house should catch on fire. So the arson investigators are responding to all these fires and they're collecting their evidence, conducting an investigation. As I said they talked to witnesses and collect as much evidence as they can," Hertzfeld said.

While Toledo fire crews were battling a fire on the 2100 block of Hawthorne, they received a call about a fire on the 1500 block of Palmwood. Residents there say this is not the first time they have dealt with a vacant home fire, and are concerned about the issue.

"It's just bad because you never know when it's going to be you, or who, or the next door neighbor or down the street and yes I'm very concerned," said Palmwood resident Reba McCullough.

Residents worry that the fire could spread quickly to their homes.

"Even though the fires right there still it could come over here. And see, my mommas staying here and I be worrying about my momma all the time, so anything happen to this house is going to happen to me and our family," said Palmwood resident William White.

Firefighters say the string of vacant home fires have put them on high alert, but say it is difficult to understand why they are occurring.

"There's numerous reasons why. It could be for profit, for insurance. It could be just for kicks. It could be somebody who just has a propensity for fire and wants to do that and see those things burn. The reasons are numerous. It's really hard to pinpoint why that is," Hertzfeld said.

Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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