Multiple morning fires cause extensive damage, electrical outages

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Photo from the Bray family

NEW CASTLE, Ind. — Four homes went up in flames in under half an hour Tuesday.

The first call for a fire came in for an abandoned house at 16th Street and F Avenue just after 3 a.m. People then called in two other fires within a five to six block radius.

“Ain’t nothing left of that house,” said Colene Smith.

Smith, who lives down the street from one home on fire this morning, was devastated to learn her daughter Linda Smith’s house burned down too. Linda, who stayed with her mom last night, lost everything.

“They had to end up giving her oxygen today after she went over there and seen it,” said Smith.

Linda’s house was one of four burned by three fires that all started within thirty minutes of each other. The first three houses were vacant. Linda’s home caught fire when flames spread from the house next door.

“I told her, if you’d have been there, you’d probably got burnt up because she’s on a lot of medication, so she’s kind of hard to wake up sometimes,” said Smith.

All four fires were out within a few hours, but not without flames first damaging critical electrical lines in the neighborhood.

“Literally there are some people without electricity right now because of some stupidity,” said Mayor Greg York.

The heat of the flames also melted siding and fencing as far as across the street and even briefly impacted the neighborhood’s water pressure.

“It ran us out of water out of our largest water tower,” said York. “You know, the mental strain is tough, but it’s the physical strain to get it done so quick.”

By the end, New Castle’s entire fire department had been called out, plus nearby volunteer crews.

And neighbors are helping Linda try to find her dog and two cats, which were inside when her home caught fire.

“I just hate to see this much devastation just over foolish gestures,” said York.

Police interviewed three juveniles early this morning, but they were all released. So if you saw or heard anything police should know, call 765-529-4890.

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