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Hammond Fire Dept. Investigating String Of Arson Fires

Derrick Blakley Derrick Blakley
Derrick Blakley is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS) –No-one’s been hurt so far but a string of crimes in Northwest Indiana has a very dangerous potential.

Three fires in a week, all within a few blocks of each other, all of them arson CBS 2’S Derrick Blakley says investigators in Hammond are looking into the pattern, trying to discover who set the fires and why.

Early Tuesday morning, the back porch of a Hammond two-flat at 855 state erupted in flame, eventually gutting the entire building and Alice Kalina, who lives next door, awoke frightened, concerned.

Asked if she thinks the fire was arson, Kalina responded, “It had to be as fast as it went up.

Two days earlier, at 855 Sibley, just a block away, another fire, another arson. Another anxious next door neighbor.

“It’s sad though, why people would want to do that. Someone could end up dying from this,” said neighbor Adam Stevens.

A pattern investigators believe began April 9, at 623 Sibley.

all three fires started in the rear of the building. All three around the same time, 3 am. and all three targeted vacant housing.

“Something may have been set inside or it may have just been set on the outside, due to the building material, and it just took off from there, said Deputy Chief Kevin Margraf of the Hammond Fire Department.

Fortunately, no one’s been injured in any of the fires, but police are stumped, and arson never easy to prosecute because witnesses get scared.

“They may be afraid of, you know what, they find out it was me giving information, maybe I’d be next,” said Margarf.

Hammond investigators aren’t sure if an accelerant was used in the arsons.
They’re looking into whether these fires may be related to another spate of arsons in the same neighborhood 8 or 9 years ago.