Suspicious fires in Carbondale

Published: Aug. 30, 2012 at 2:11 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2012 at 2:20 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Two fires in two vacant buildings, in one week in Carbondale have investigators looking for whose responsible.

"It was really weird a fire just all of sudden erupted in the garage," said Mark Dewitt of Carbondale.

And he along with many of his other neighbors on South Lake Heights Street are now worried about what will happen next.

After the abandoned home on 320 South Lake Heights was destroyed by a fire on the evening of August 22.

"I was just scared standing there watching it burn," said Wendy Villanuva. "Because maybe it could have come over here and burned our house or something."

The house fire on Wednesday, then another in the old Veach One Stop at 1124 East Walnut and South Lake Heights on Sunday, have investigators concerned.

"First and foremost we're concerned about our personnel," said Fire Chief John Michalesko at the Carbondale Fire Department. "And the last thing we want to do is injure somebody at an intentionally set fire. The other thing is the danger to surrounding properties and buildings. We have a responsibility to those citizens."

And some people living near the burned out home on South Lake Heights, say they're now having trouble sleeping at night.

"Like maybe it was a possibly arson, with somebody coming around the neighborhood will probably set something else on fire," said Dewitt. "It's hard to sleep at night. Because they've got a habit of setting these old buildings and abandoned house on fire. And it's kind of scary."

And now fire fighters are worried that they might be able to get to a real emergency while battling fires in vacant buildings.

"Obviously we're being drawn away from people who may really need us in a true emergency," said Fire Chief Michalesko.

At this time investigators aren't saying the two fires are connected. But they are asking for your help tracking down who set the fires.

If you have any information about these suspicious fires in Carbondale, please contact the Carbondale Police Department.

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