Three vacant homes catch fire in south Toledo - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Three vacant homes catch fire in south Toledo

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Fire crews were quick to action early Thursday morning when three vacant houses went up in flames in the 1000 block of Harding near Stebbins in south Toledo.

The fire is believed to have started at one of the vacant houses before quickly spreading to the other two.

Flames from the fire could be seen from several blocks away.  Fire crews watered down a fourth home which was occupied to stop the flames from spreading further.

"I live on the other block a couple houses down and I could feel the heat from it," said Toledo resident Eryn Santiago.  "It was really intense."

It was a little too close for comfort for some of the people living nearby. They say this fire could have spread very easily to many occupied homes.

"There's no sense burning these abandoned houses down when there's people that live in houses right next door to them and that have children," said south Toledo resident Lilia Gartee.

Another part of the problem is that criminals are stripping the vacant homes of metals to scrap.  Because of that, the homes cannot be easily repaired and are left abandoned for years, making them appealing targets for arsonists.

"They're illegally entering unoccupied homes - that's a crime," said Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld from the Toledo Fire Department. "That crime continues, whether it's stripping these homes of materials or setting these homes on fire, creates a risk for not only our firefighters but for the neighborhood, as well."

Just the other day, Gartee's son Steven says he saw someone coming out of one of the homes.

"The house that was standing right here, I saw somebody go in there the other day," said Steven. "And they came out with a whole bunch of copper and metal."

Fire officials are asking neighbors to let them know if they had seen anything suspicious prior to the fire. 

No one was injured in these fires. Investigators are still trying to figure out how the fire started.

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