Midtown Residents on Edge After String of Suspicious House Fires

Published 03/29 2014 10:39PM

Updated 03/30 2014 03:17PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The St. Joseph Fire Department battled a house fire, in the Midtown area, for the third time this week.

"I heard a pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, and I got up and looked out the bedroom window," said Richard Vinson who witnessed the fire.

Vinson described what he saw when the vacant Midtown home burned down early Saturday morning.

"Flames was coming out of the front door of the house. The front door was standing wide open," said Vinson.

Fire officials were called to the home off North 16th Street around 3 Saturday morning.

It took them seven hours to put out the blaze.

"We're not sure just yet what the cause of them is, but there's been some suspicious feelings about them," said Russell Moore, Battalion Chief of the St. Joseph Fire Department.

Firefighters are still investigating, but they said they have reason to believe there is an arsonist targeting empty homes in the Midtown area.

"These buildings were totally involved by the time we arrived, which means they had a big head start on us," said Moore.

Moore also said the were no signs of an ignition, and the utilities in the home were turned off.

Vinson, and other Midtown residents, said it's scary to think someone would intentionally set houses on fire. 

'We just keep an eye on new people coming into the neighborhood, and new vehicles and traffic going up and down the streets late at night," said Vinson.

Fire fighters recommend residents keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, and if anything seems strange, call 911.

"If you see someone walking through your neighborhood at 2 o'clock in the morning with a gas can, call us," said Moore.

Fire officials have not ruled out the possibility the fires were accidental.

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