Arson suspected in string of house fires

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A couple is safe after an overnight fire destroys their home.

They were asleep in the home on Manor Boulevard in Crab Orchard when a neighbor woke them up alerting them to the fire.

To make matters worse, investigators say the cause of the fire is suspicious.

The home is no longer livable after flames engulfed it overnight. A man and his girlfriend were inside at the time, and he says thanks to a neighbor, they made it out unharmed.

Michael Hale says a neighbor down the road heard the dog barking, then went outside, saw the flames, and started banging on the front door.

"Fortunately, he woke us up, or we may not be here talking to you all right now," Hale says.

He says dealing with the loss is difficult, but he is thankful the situation was not worse.

"It's still a shock to me right now, but you know, thank God that there's people like him that keep an eye out," Hale says.

This is the third house fire in the Crab Orchard area in less than a week.

"We did have two other fires Monday, back to back," says Rodney Price, a volunteer firefighter with the city.

This leads investigators to suspect arson in each incident. They are still determining the exact cause of this fire.

"We don't know what started it. There are a couple of spots that could be the main point of origin of the fire," Price says.

Hale says he would like to rebuild at some point, and is keeping his head up.

"Just try to keep a positive attitude, and just try to move forward the best way I know how," he says.

Hale tells us fortunately his parents live close by so he does have a place to stay, but says he's still in shock he can no longer live in his own home.

Arson investigators with state police are looking into all three of the recent house fires to determine if they were intentionally set, and if there is a link between them all.

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