TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — As of October 27, around 22 arsons are being investigated according to the Terre Haute Fire Department.
“That number is a little bit higher than usual,” Assistant Chief of Investigations, Preventions and Inspections, Scott Boyed said.
This year to date, there have been 112 fires in Terre Haute. Generally, arson accounts for 25% to 30% of fires. Boyed adds that nearly half of 2022’s arsons have been in unoccupied residencies.
“A majority of the fires that people start, everyone uses gasoline to start them. If they don’t, there’s other chemicals they can use but nothing specific,” he said.
Most of these crimes were started by different individuals, but law enforcement is looking at three or four people who may be responsible for several fires each.
One person of interest may be behind three unoccupied buildings being set on fire.
Arson is commonly used to cover up other crimes, and offenders may be wanted for different reasons.
“We work in conjunction with Terre Haute Police Department detectives, sometimes we may have enough to get a warrant on arson, but if they’re still working on other crimes, we want to make sure we have all of that together,” Boyed stated.
Caution tape still surrounds a home in the 2400 block of 6th Avenue, Terre Haute’s most recent arson. For more information on that investigation, click the link below.
DeAnne Barnett lives just feet away from this incident and said her family was woken by a loud noise and smoke filling the neighborhood.
“It’s terrifying. It could hit the trees and fall into our house. I have a child here, I have a pet, it’s just terrifying,” she said.
Arson is a difficult crime to prepare for, so residents are asked to be vigilant and to report anything suspicious. Click on this link for information on who to contact.
Barnett said she has working smoke detectors and cameras around her property.
“Absolutely could happen to anybody. Everybody just needs to look out for everybody and keep track of who’s in the neighborhood. Just be proactive about it,” She said.