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Fire marshal offers reward in New Castle fires

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (WISH) — Police in New Castle are trying to figure out how three separate fires started overnight Tuesday all in the same neighborhood.

The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for tips leading to whoever started the fires.

Police said Tuesday evening they had not yet determined whether the fires are arson but firefighters said they are suspicious because all three started in abandoned homes with no utilities or power. The fires started blocks away from each other but all in the same neighborhood on the same morning.

One fire at 1415 S. 19th St. spread to a neighboring home and destroyed a home where people lived, but no one reported any injuries in any of the fires.

Debbie Ford lives across the street from the 19th Street home.

“We heard like a small explosion at first,” Ford said. “You don’t do that. It could have easily killed somebody. The fire spread so quick, it could have killed somebody.”

The other fires started near 16th Street and F Avenue, and 17th Street and D Avenue.

Detectives questioned three teenagers Tuesday morning and then released them.

Chasity Bertram, who lives in the neighborhood, spent Tuesday searching for two cats and a dog that ran from the 19th Street home in the middle of the chaos.

“We in this area actually stick together,” Bertram said. “To watch the house burn and the gentleman crying for his animals. Who’s heart wouldn’t it touch?”

Anyone with information can call 1-800-382-4628.

Firefighters said the homes are a total loss. A wrecking crew tore them to pieces Tuesday morning.

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