Surveillance video catches man setting fire to near west side home

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 9, 2015) -- Arson investigators with the Wayne Township Fire Department and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) are investigating after they say a man set fire to a home. The fire started just after midnight on June 24 and it was all caught on video thanks to the home's surveillance camera system.

The video shows the man walking on to the property from the corner of Bertha and South Fleming Streets. The man then walked to the back of the house and poured some type of accelerant along the home's foundation. The video then shows the man using what appears to be a cigarette lighter, which caused a huge flash and explosion.

Firefighters received a call of a burning gasoline can in the middle of the road, and once they arrived, found the house on fire. Damage was contained to the back of the home. Investigators don't think anybody was inside at the time. The house next door wasn't damaged.

"Could have been a very, very dangerous situation," said Lt. Troy Wymer with the Wayne Township Fire Department.

Judging from the video, it appears the man was burned by the fire and that could be a key part of this investigation.

"Making contact with the hospitals, anyone that may have seen somebody that was burned or anything like that," Wymer said.

Steve DuBois with Central Indiana Crime Stoppers says finding this person is a priority.

"This is a residence, where people could have been inside and light that structure on fire? Yes, this is somebody that we need to get off the street," DuBois said.

Neighbors say the house is a hangout for a local motorcycle group, but don't think anyone lives there full time. Still, neighbor Beth Harshaw says it's scary to think an arsonist is on the loose.

"It can be frightening, you wonder are you gonna wake up and find something on fire," Harshaw said.

If you know anything about this, take action and call IMPD or you can stay anonymous and call Central Indiana Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS (8477).

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