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House Becomes Target for Arson Again

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

UPDATE 10/15/12 @ 4:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Investigators say arsonists have struck again at a home on Charleston's West Side.

Firefighters tell WSAZ.com the flames broke out just before 2 a.m. Monday at a home along Walnut Street. It's the same house that was set on fire Sunday morning, according to investigators.

Neighbors say they saw several people gathered outside near the intersection of Frame and Walnut Streets acting suspicious shortly before the flames consumed the home.

Investigators say Monday morning's fire started in a back room of the home, however, on Sunday morning, the fire was started at the front of the home. Several fire stations helped contain the flames as neighbors watched closely.

"I don't even want to sleep at night now, I mean I've got a two year old kid," neighbor Michael Lewis said. "My wife has things to do in the morning and now I don't even want to sleep."

Fire officials say they're getting witness statements and assessing the damage to look for clues.

"It's a little bit discouraging that somebody's done this," Captain Ken Tyree said. "But hopefully we can bring somebody to justice on it."

WSAZ.com spoke exclusively with Ebony Hairston, the woman who lived at the home. She says she recently moved out of her rental home.

"What goes around comes around," Ebony Hairston said. "Eventually you're going to have to pay for what you're doing."

Neighbors say a dispute between Hairston and others may be to blame for the arson.

Fire officials are investigating in hopes of catching the arsonists.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE: 10/14/12 @ 10:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Investigators say an early morning house fire was intentionally set.

It broke out just after 1 a.m. Sunday in the 900 block of Walnut Street on Charleston’s west side.

Investigators are calling the fire a case of arson. They aren't entirely sure how or where the fire originated, however, most of the home was destroyed.

No utilities like gas or electricity were turned on in the home, raising suspicions, according to investigators.

Ebony Hairston's phone was ringing off the hook Sunday morning with news she never wanted to hear.

"They kept calling me and telling me the house is on fire," Ebony Hairston said. "They didn't know if we were staying there."

Fortunately, Hairston and her children weren't staying in the house they rented when it went up in flames about Sunday morning.

Hairston and her family had been staying with family and friends since July, when another fire consumed an empty house right next door to them. She says that fire damaged their home and made it unsafe to live in, forcing them out.

It also served as a warning, she says, of the danger that would befall their home as well.

"When I saw the fire jump onto my roof and the stuff on my porch go up in flames, I just knew that my house would go up," Hairston said. "And everything I worked hard for and everything that was given to me by friends and family."

Neighbors say the suspicious fire is making them fearful for their own homes and lives.

"It's making me wonder whether it's really safe up here for me and my family," neighbor Eric Pence said.

Kenneth Dean agreed. "It's hard to go to sleep at night now," he said.

Ebony believes that for those responsible, justice will be served - in one form or another.

"What goes around comes around," Hairston said. "Eventually you're going to have to pay for what you're doing."

Authorities say there were no gas or utilities turned on in the home.

Neighbors described hearing loud booms before it went up in flames.

Fire officials have interviewed neighbors and are working on a report. More information is expected to be released this week.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for updates.

UPDATE: 10/14/12 @ 2:40 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Investigators say an early morning house fire was intentionally set.

It broke out just after 1 a.m. Sunday in the 900 block of Walnut Street on Charleston’s west side.

Investigators are calling the fire a case of arson. They aren't entirely sure how or where the fire originated, however, most of the home was destroyed.

No utilities like gas or electricity were turned on in the home, raising suspicions, according to investigators.

Neighbors describe hearing loud booms before the home was engulfed in flames. They say the woman who lived in the home was renting the place and had just moved out a few days ago.

Three months ago, another fire consumed the home next door on Walnut Street to where the fire broke out. It has since been torn down.

Fire officials have interviewed neighbors and are working on a report. More information is expected to be released this week.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for updates.



ORIGINAL STORY: 10/14/12 @ 3:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Fire investigators are trying to determine what caused an abandoned home to go up in flames.

Fire officials tell WSAZ.com the fire is being called suspicious. It broke out just after 1 a.m. Sunday in the 900 block of Walnut Street on Charleston’s west side.

Neighbors describe hearing loud booms before the home was engulfed in flames. They say the woman who lived in the home was renting the place and had just moved out a few days ago.

Firefighters say four stations responded to contain the fire. Most of the upstairs floor has been destroyed.

It’s the third fire to break out in recent weeks, but firefighters don’t believe they’re all connected.

Three months ago, another fire consumed the home next door on Walnut Street to where the fire broke out. It has since been torn down.

Sunday morning’s fire did cause damage to the neighbor’s home. Siding caught fire and caused much of it to melt and peal away.

Neighbors say they’re fearful someone is intentionally setting the fires since neither home had utilities turned on.

Investigators are interviewing neighbors and assessing the damage to look for clues and determine an exact cause.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for updates.


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