Westerville Police Warn Public Following Dangerous String of Arsons


UPDATED: Sunday March 23, 2014 8:59 AM

Police say someone is intentionally setting fires at homes in Westerville while families are inside.

Police say these fires are being set at night so an alleged arsonist can get away without being seen.

Investigators are telling people to be vigilant and to keep a close eye on anyone suspicious lurking around.  

Officers say they worry the arsonist will continue and put more lives at risk.

So far, police are connecting fires at four homes in Westerville: Allview Road, Cornell Court, Cherrington Road, and West Broadway Avenue.

"I just smelled fire. I just thought someone was having a late bonfire. I didn't realize what time it was," says Westerville resident Morgan Hayes.

It was just after 2 o'clock in the morning on Saturday when a house across the street from the Hayes household caught fire.

Katie Hayes and her daughter, Morgan, tell 10TV that only now are they learning it was arson.  "I can't even believe it, really, because I don't think anything has happened around here," said Katie Hayes.

A Westerville police report shows someone found hay from the rear of the house, on West Broadway Avenue, and set it on fire on the front porch.

Less than a week earlier, a fire erupted at a house on Allview Road.  

Police say the common thread among all these arsons is that the fire is usually set at night and around the porch.

Westerville residents Tiffany West and her husband, Tim, say they saw flames shooting from her neighbor's home on Allview Road.

"The fact that it could start in the night, when we least expect it, being woken from your sleep is definitely scary," said Tiffany West.

At another fire on Cornell Court, firefighters say they found a railroad tie leaning against the deck, with a pile of wood underneath that caught fire.   

Police say they also found an empty container of oil that'd been used to start that fire.

Westerville police encourage everyone to take anything potentially flammable inside, such as trash or gas cans.

Police say they have identified people of interest, but they're still looking for more evidence to officially link a person or people to these crimes.

If you see anything suspicious, report it to police immediately.

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