4 homes set ablaze by arsonist on same Indianapolis street prompts investigation

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Police and fire investigators are searching for a serial arsonist in Indianapolis following a string of overnight fires.

According to police reports, at least four homes were damaged by an arsonist on the same street on Indy’s west and southwest sides.

Only one home suffered significant damage, and luckily, no one was hurt in any of the four arson cases, but the victims hope whoever set the fires is quickly caught.

The white siding has been charred black after someone set fire to a home in the 3100 block of South Rybolt Avenue Tuesday night.

“I looked out my window and saw her house on fire,” said neighbor Marsha Powers.

Seeing the flames, Marsha jumped into action by pouring water on the fire to save her 77-year-old neighbor.

“I said, ‘Get me some pitchers of water,’ and luckily, I got it out before the fire department got here,” said Powers.

“That really scared me last night. If it wasn’t for her, I probably would have burned up,” said victim Gloria Herald.

Gloria says she and her wheelchair-bound daughter were asleep inside when the fire started, and they didn’t know the home had caught fire until emergency crews woke her up.

Just a half mile south of Gloria’s home on Rybolt, someone set fire to a second home while the owner was working.

“We were at work, and one of the neighbors called and said the house was on fire,” said Erasmo Mendoza.

That fire caused the home’s side wall to collapse, forcing the family to sleep in their cars overnight.

“I mean, it’s so dangerous. I think somebody needs help. They need some mental help,” said Mendoza.

Just a few hundred feet south of Erasmo’s home, an arson scorched the side of a third home. A few miles north, also along Rybolt, near I-70, the windows and doors of a fourth home were burnt black.

Police told neighbors the suspect was pouring gas on the homes to ignite the fires.

“He said keep an eye out because this was the third house hit and they were using gas. You could smell the gasoline,” said Powers. “They don’t realize what they’re doing. They need to stop and think about what they’re doing. There’s people that live in those homes.”

“Whoever it is, they need to turn themselves in and get straight,” said Herald. “It’s gonna be hard for me to go to bed tonight.”

So far, no arrests have been made, but anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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