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Lawton Fire Marshals investigate malicious fire

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LAWTON, Okla._A Lawton family is recovering from a horrific crime after they claim someone set their house on fire Friday morning and intentionally trapped them inside.

Just after 10:00 a.m. Friday, firefighters rushed to the home in the 2300 block of northwest Denver Avenue after a frantic caller said their house was on fire and they couldn't get out. When firefighters arrived they found everyone had escaped the burning home and according to one of the victims the fire was no accident.

The victim says it was her estranged husband that set fire to all the home's exits and that he did it to try and trap her and her boyfriend inside. She says he went as far as to douse the doors and windows with gasoline and then put a fridge in front of the back door so they couldn't get out.

When firefighters arrived to the home, flames were already shooting from the front door. It wasn't until later that they noticed that the back door and even the windows had been on fire but had already gone out.

"The statement that I received from witnesses saying that they saw someone running away with a gas can makes the fire suspicious," said Ray Brown, Assistant Fire Marshal.

Assistant Fire Marshal Brown says luckily the residents were able to get out of the house unharmed and firefighters came quickly to put out the blaze.

"Had they not heard noise outside and got up to investigate the noise and the fire be allowed to grow and spread, there is a potential that they could've been trapped inside because all of the exits had been set on fire," explained Brown.

He says the family caught another lucky break since the woman's children were at school at the time of the fire.

"Had everybody been home, had it been later, had the person not heard the sounds to cause them to investigate, you could've had an entire family trapped inside the house with no way to get out," said Brown.

Brown says this case is one of the most unusual calls he's responded too and one of the most violent.

"I have not, in my career, seen anyone burn just the exists of a house. So to me that shows intent that someone may have been trying to hurt someone," said Brown.

Police do have a person of interest and are attempting to make contact with him. The suspect could face first-degree arson charges. The house is not livable for the time being since it can't be secured due to both the doors being burnt.

The Red Cross has been called in to assist the residents.

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