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Duncan Police Investigating Arson Fires at Vacant Homes

Duncan Police Investigating Arson Fires at Vacant Homes

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Duncan, Okla._Residents of a Duncan neighborhood are in fear for their safety, after someone set two vacant homes on fire Saturday night. The fires broke out within less than an hour of each other, just after 9:00 p.m. The first fire happened near West Mulberry Avenue and 2nd Street just a few blocks north of Bois D'Arc. That's just five blocks away from where the second fire ignited near 5th and Elm Street. Duncan police are investigating the fires, and residents said they just want whoever is responsible to be caught.

Investigators said they're very concerned because there have been five, possibly, six other vacant homes that have been set on fire within the last couple of months in that area. To make matters worse, they said this is the second time one of the houses has been the target of arson and last night it was destroyed. Residents said these fires are too close for comfort.

Roberto Avila lives just across the street from the house on 5th and Elm Street. He captured the fire on camera and said he could feel the heat burning his face. He said he couldn't believe the house had been targeted again.

"It's crazy. I couldn't believe it. But this one was more amazing than the last one. It was just...the fire was just so intense...it was just amazing", said Avila.

Less than an hour later and just five blocks away, Betty Harris' watched flames erupting from the house across the street from hers, near Kings Place and West Mulberry Street.

"It was just scary. It was upsetting. To look at flames this close to home. If the wind would have been blowing another way. Harder...we don't know how much?", she said.

Both Avila and Harris said they watched firefighters work to extinguish the flames and were relieved when they were finally put out. Duncan fire Chief Dayton Burnside said last night's fires was extremely taxing on firefighters. He said the heavy winds at this particular fire presented a problem because it was blowing embers into neighboring yards and caused several grassfires to ignite. Residents said they want to know why their neighborhood is being targeted.

"It's just mean...just mean...that's all I can say. I don't like it but what can I do", said Harris.

Avila said he hoped that this fire was caused by something natural but was put on edge to learn that it was set intentionally. 

"I thought it was just an electrical fire but to know that somebody did that is just crazy. I hope it doesn't happen to our house but you just never know what's on people's minds now a days", he said.

Investigators said that the house on Kings Place and Mulberry did have power although it was vacant. They said the  house on 5th and Elm Street did not have power to it. They said another concern for them is that the arsonist may escalate from secondary to first-degree arson, which would be an occupied structure. Firefighters said they estimate the damage at last night's fires to be around $40,000.

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