Multiple fires task east side crews overnight

330 N. Rural - IFD photo
Published: .
Updated: .

Arson investigators are looking at five suspicious fires in a narrow, seven-block band of Rural and surrounding streets on the east side overnight.

The first fire in the 300 block of Rural shortly after 11:30 p.m. Sunday did minimal damage to a vacant home.

The next four were called in over a 22-minute span between 2:17 a.m. and 2:39 a.m. involving two houses and two trash fires.

As crews were responding to another vacant house fire in the 800 block of Rural at 2:17 a.m. when they were told of a house fire one block west, in the 900 block of Eastern Avenue.

"I heard a crash through the front window," said James Jenkins, who lives in the house on Eastern Avenue. "I thought we were being burglarized," he said, but came downstairs to find the house on fire. Jenkins, his wife and three children, ages 5, 7 and 9, were able to get out, along with the family dog.

Dominique Jenkins said they moved into the house in February and James had rehabbed the home himself. She told Eyewitness News they have lost everything.  She thinks the fire is the work of an arsonist, and thinks it was a random act.

While battling those fires, trash fires were reported in the 700 block of Oxford, the street just east of Rural, and the 600 block of Rural.

IFD spokesman Lt. Larry Tracy said crews were stretched due to the timing of multiple fires in the same area, but added that crews from out of district respond to assist.

While the fires appear suspicious, Tracy could not confirm that they were related until investigators report their findings.

Tracy said nobody was hurt in the fires, and Victims Assistance responded to help the Jenkins family.