Homeowner cries, terrified after house set on fire with family inside

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HAMILTON COUNTY - A Noblesville couple is terrified to sleep in their own home after someone set it on fire while they were inside.

Firefighters were called out to the 150 block of Tippecanoe Drive near the White River early Tuesday. A family of five was standing outside as flames took over the front of the house.

"We could see the flames up the side of the house," said Rachael Dupree. She and her husband Charles have lived in the house for 35 years and showed FOX59 the melted siding and charred door.

"I can still feel it in my throat. There was so much smoke in there," she added.

Dupree told FOX59, smoke alarms went off in the middle of the night. She, her husband, their daughter, and two grandchildren were all asleep inside the house.

"About 1:45 am, my daughter come knocking on the door, she said 'Mom, wake up! There's a fire!'"

Everyone got out safely, but the Dupree's haven't felt safe since fire investigators ruled the incident as arson.

"We've determined that the fire was intentionally set," said Noblesville Fire Division Chief Rick Russell. Investigators did not find any electrical wiring on the porch and ruled out any accidental causes before deciding someone set the fire on purpose.

"All that down there was soaked with... gas they said. And then they used like an accelerant to I guess burn hotter," explained Dupree. "We're just at a loss. We don't know why anyone would do something like this."

That question is now up to the Sheriff's Department to answer. Hamilton County detectives are asking a lot of questions and trying to find the person(s) responsible.

"(We're) trying to determine who might have been at or near the residence; if there was any history of issues with anyone in the neighborhood or otherwise," said Sheriff Mark Bowen. "Lives could've been lost."

The fire caused $10,000 in damages. The Dupree's had just renovated the home last year. They plan on fixing it up again, but they don't want to stay.

"I'm still scared here," said a trembling Dupree and then she wiped away her tears.

If you have any information about this crime, call the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department Investigation Division at 317-776-9887.

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