Indianapolis police appeal for help in solving pair of Christmas arson cases

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Police and fire investigators in Indianapolis continue to search for an arsonist responsible for setting two homes on fire Christmas morning.

According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Dec. 25 fires were intentionally set less than an hour apart. The first was reported around 3 a.m. at 1244 N. New Jersey St. The second was reported around 3:40 a.m. at 1446 N. Alabama.

The front windows of a home on New Jersey Street are still boarded up, after fire destroyed the front porch Christmas day.

“There was a ribbon of fire where the wall meets the ceiling,” said that fire victim who asked not to be identified.

That victim lives in the home with his brother and says investigators believe someone stacked up their porch furniture and lit it on fire, although fire crews extinguished the flames before it could spread past the porch.

“It did ruin Christmas yeah. Fortunately the flames did not get into the house to do too much destruction except for the smoke,” said that victim.

Just a block away on Alabama a different family wasn’t so lucky. Fire fighters found a second porch set ablaze the same morning. That family of four just barely escaped.

“There was smoke coming up the staircase so I’m glad we got out when we did because it was spreading pretty quickly,” said Eric Froehlke.

Eric’s home ended up being a complete loss. He says his two kids, ages 5 and 7, not only had their Christmas ruined, but their two cats were killed.

“It’s a memory that I wouldn’t wish on anybody,” said Froehlke. “That’s been the biggest thing for me is just making sure that my kids are okay and seeing them struggle with it has probably been the biggest challenge I’ve had.”

Incredibly, on July 4, 2012, the same homeowner on New Jersey had his porch engulfed in fire. That holiday fire six years ago was also intentionally set, but no arrests were ever made.

“We want nothing more than whoever did these fires be caught,” said that victim.

“This is not a practical joke. This is serious business,” said Daniel Rosenberg with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana. “There’s a very good chance that people who like to see things burned will do it again until they are stopped.”

IFD said the fire on Alabama Street spread quickly to an unoccupied home next door. Damage to both structures was estimated at $300,000.

Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS. You can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a $1,000 reward if the information leads to a felony arrest.

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