Westerville News & Public Opinion

No developments in arson investigation

Four or perhaps five Westerville house fires over two weeks are believed to be arson

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More than two weeks after announcing that four homes were targeted by an arsonist, the Westerville Division of Police still is looking for a break in the case.

"It's been quiet since the press release went out," said Detective Lt. Ron McMillin, who has been working the case since the announcement.

McMillin said that police haven't brought anyone in or interviewed anyone who may be of interest, and says that there are no specific suspects yet.

"We have several people that we're looking into, but I wouldn't say that any one person is of any more interest to us than the others at this point," he said. "There's been some progress, but there's nothing at this point where we would want to bring someone in and talk to them about it."

Fires at houses on Allview Road, Cherrington Road, Cornell Court and West Broadway Avenue are believed to be the work of the same individual. The four fires saw a broad range of damage, but all seemed to be started by someone piling materials near a porch or deck.

Three of the four fires occurred between March 17-22, and all started after 11 p.m. The fourth incident was the most minor, and could have been set anytime between March 4-18.

A fifth fire -- at a home on Hampton Park West -- occurred on March 16. Seven people were in the home during the blaze, and all managed to make it out of the house. The house sustained heavy damage.

McMillin said that while the cause of that fire has yet to be determined, authorities at this point are not willing to lump it in with the other four fires in the arson investigation.

"That's still undetermined," he said. "We haven't completely ruled (arson) out, but by the same token we're not sure if it's related with these others or not. ... Arson investigators are still looking into it. But it doesn't appear as though it was set the same way."

With the arsonist still at large, police are asking neighbors to pay attention to their surroundings and to alert the Westerville Division of Police at 614-882-7444 about any suspicious activity.

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