Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Arson in Columbus, Ohio

Seems like the local media has noticed the apparent uptick in arson in the area. Someone even put together a google map of suspicious fires for the area in 2008.

NBC4i has a story up about one of the more recent cases.

"They set my car on fire at about 2 o'clock this morning," Smith said. "And we went back there. Fire department came and put it out. We went back in the house, laid back to go back to sleep. The next thing you know, that apartment's on fire."


Another fire also considered arson called firefighters out to 536 Bulen Avenue on the city's near East Side. The flames started in a vacant house and spread to an occupied home next door. The family of five escaped safely.

A third suspicious fire actually was the first of the morning and was on the near East Side, too. These flames also started in a vacant home but on the corner of South 18th Street and East Engler Street. No one was hurt, and no neighboring buildings were damaged.

Seems like arson is a harder crime to solve than others. High profile cases, such as the five OSU students killed five years ago are still unsolved.

On April 13, 2003, a fire ripped through a home on East 17th Avenue. When the blaze was finally extinguished hours later, two Ohio State students, Alan Schlessman and Kyle Raulin, were dead, 10TV's Angela An reported.

Also killed in the fire were Andrea Dennis, Erin DeMarco and Christine Wilson -- all of whom were visiting from Ohio University.

In the time since the fire, much has changed.

The East 17th Avenue home has been renovated and remodeled, and most of the students present the night of the fatal fire are graduated and gone.

While the fire is all but a memory to most, Columbus Police Det. Rick Bisutti said one thing had not changed in five years: his search for the arsonist who killed five people.

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