Suspicious house fire has family looking for answers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Suspicious house fire has family looking for answers

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Yakima, WASH.--Fire officials continue to investigate a suspicious house fire in Yakima that's left a family searching for answers.

The grandmother, Ann Wells, has lived in that house on Erickson Lane for 41 years. She said what hurts the most is that she believes the fires were intentionally set.

"Turned out to be a book somebody had set on fire and threw under there {the bed}, and I had just been in there picking up the kids' cereal and it wasn't there," said Wells.

That fire was the first of two suspicious fires that destroyed the home on Sunday afternoon. All eleven occupants got out safely and were able to put the first fire out quickly. However, five minutes later, disaster struck.

"As soon as I opened the door, just a big cloud of smoke just hit me," said one of the residents Gilbert Penaloza. "I was really just surprised because we just got done putting out the first fire, so it was like how did the second one start."

Wells said, "I knew the way it happened that somebody did it on purpose, and it was just so devastating to know that."

Wells' grandson, Cody Feller, said, "I never thought anything like this would ever happen to her. She's real kind-hearted. She's got a big heart. She's helped everybody. I couldn't see anybody ever doing this to her."

Investigators said the fire appears to be suspicious, and they are trying to determine how it started.

The family said they lost everything, and they hope to see some justice.  

"I raised my kids, my grandkids, and now I'm starting on my great grandkids," said Wells. "So there's a lot of memories."

Penaloza said, "Whoever did this really needs to pay for the consequences. This is too much."

Firefighters said damages are estimated at around $120,000.

It took firefighters around an hour to bring the fire under control. Crews said they had limited access to the attic, and that made it harder for them to knock down the flames.

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