Arsons Numbers Heating-up in the New YearPosted: Updated:
YAKIMA, Wash-- The year is off to a hot start and the Yakima Fire Department is asking for your help. There have been 13 arson fires so far this year. The latest fires happened over the weekend and are still under investigation.
"I thank God for our lives, we're alive and that's the most important thing. But, it hurts, it hurts to know that everything we worked for and accomplished it's just gone like that," said LaTrisa Espino, renter at 111 N. 8th Street.
Espino and her two children escaped the burning home along with several other families this weekend. The new furniture she bought with her income tax return did not. She described a frightening experience, someone had set the house on fire.
"It was just all white smoke," said Espino.
Now the flames are gone, but the mess remains. Enter Joe Caruso, he's the cities acting code manager and fire marshal.
It's his job to make sure buildings are safe and up to code. He's been to the house on 8th street before.
"We've had some [code violations] in the past that have been addressed and this is just another incident at this location," said Caruso.
Espino gave a laundry list of landlord complaints, from water heater fires to bad heating. Her neighborhood hosts older homes. Ron Melcher, the deputy fire marshal said these older homes burn quick. And this neighborhood has been a hot spot for arson.
"It's true between South Naches to North Naches and two or three blocks on either side we've had a lot of fires," said Melcher.
The city will now decide whether or not the 8th street house can be repaired or needs to be demolished. Espino and her children are staying with family, she's trying to scrape together money for a new place.
"I've got friends that their houses have burnt through. But, I guess you really don't know until you go through it yourself," she said.
If you have any information regarding an arson you can call the Yakima Fire Department. The number is 1-800-55-ARSON. There's a reward for tips that lead to arrests.