Northwest side house fire intentionally set, investigators say

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INDIANAPOLIS (May 8, 2015) – A fire on the northwest side appeared to be intentionally set, investigators say.

Crews arrived around 4 a.m. Friday to find large flames coming from the roof of the vacant home at 1032 Udell St. Smoke and flames could be seen from several blocks away. The fire destroyed the house, leaving a few pieces of the frame standing. No one was inside, but a family of six next store had to leave their residence. The fire also damaged their home.

Keyonna Clark lives in the home next door. She says she feels lucky her family is alive.

“I was asleep and my dog just kept barking and barking and barking and I told it to be quiet then I looked out and the whole house caught on fire over there. There was big flames. We just ran out the house quick," Clark said.

Investigators from the Indianapolis Fire Department believe the fire is a case of arson and think it may have been connected to a smaller fire earlier in the area. IFD is asking neighbors to help find whoever is responsible.

"If you see something, please call it in. Anything that you might have descriptive wise as a suspicious person, suspicious vehicle... no one is supposed to be going out of these vacant structures and we need to be keeping an eye on what’s happening in the neighborhood," said Capt. Rita Reith.

Neighbors as far as 30th Street said the flames and smoke woke them up early Friday morning. Investigators have received tips about a person possibly connected to the case.

In 2105, there have been more than 70 cases of arson in the city of Indianapolis. 10 arrests have been made, many of them thanks to tips from people in the community.

Many in the neighborhood believe the abandoned homes are a welcome target for arson.

“All of these abandoned and boarded up homes in the neighborhood and not only are they an eye sore, but they tend to draw criminal activity," said Reverend Charles Harrison.

An abandoned home across the street from his church was set on fire last month. Harrison said arson's usually increase during summer months in the community.

“It’s just the frustration out here and the hopelessness that you see in neighborhoods like this in the urban core and one of the things that they do, is they torch these houses," Harrison said.

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