3 Separate Fires Believed Arson In River Haven (VIDEO & PHOTOS)

By Eric Dutkiewicz - 21Alive
By Stephanie Parkinson - 21 Alive


5 photos

September 2, 2013 Updated Sep 2, 2013 at 5:27 PM EDT

RIVER HAVEN, Ind. (21Alive) - Arson is suspected by investigators after several fires destroyed three homes in a portion of eastern Allen County between Fort Wayne and New Haven.

The New Haven-Adams Township Fire Department responded to three separate fires early Sunday morning in River Haven.

The first was a house fire in the 700 block of Waverly Dr. Later, a mobile home and pole barn were on fire in the 900 block of Portola Dr. A third fire was at a home in the 1000 block of Waverly Dr.

"As separate fires, all coming out at the same tells us that it's just got to be some foul play involved," New Haven-Adams Township Fire Department investigator Charles Lehman says.

The Allen County Arson Specialized Team is assisting with the investigations.

"We ruled out all the gas lines, any gas lines, ruled out the electricity. And that's the first thing you do. You rule out any heat sources, and we did that. So now we've got what we call an incendiary fire, which means some human intervention for this fire to happen," said Lehman.

People were living at the home in the 700 block of Waverly Drive. They were able to escape without getting hurt. The Red Cross is helping them find another place to stay for now. Nobody was living in the other homes.

None of the buildings were insured so investigators say finding the exact cause could take some time. Typically, when arson is suspected, insurance companies pay for evidence to be processed by a private company. Since insurance companies aren't involved Lehman says the evidence has to be processed in the state lab, which could take several months.

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