Fire investigators seeking help finding Vernon Twp. arson suspec - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Fire investigators seeking help finding Vernon Twp. arson suspect

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Investigators are asking for help finding a person who started a fire just feet from a sleeping infant. 

Burghill-Vernon Fire Chief George Snyder says shortly after 1:00 p.m Thursday afternoon someone lit a fire on the porch of a duplex on the 6100 block of State Route 7. 

Snyder says a young family was sleeping in a downstairs room, just 10 feet away from the flames. According to the chief, the father woke up and saw the smoke. 

Fortunately, the family was able to make it out of the building and no-one was injured, but Snyder says it could have been much worse.

Zachary Toto and Mary Casey, who live in the home, say they can't believe someone would do this.

"Especially since it is obvious people live here. There are two cars out front. There are children in the house. To set a fire like that, what else are they capable up," says Toto.

Six-month-old Jenna was in her crib just 10 feet away from the flames. 
The family is afraid whoever set the fire may come back.

"It was an absolute nightmare. It was very scary.  Even now I try to lay in bed and relax and it is hard to. It's hard to let your guard down because you think somebody is going to try it again or do something worse," said Casey.

Chief Snyder is hopeful that the busy stretch of Route 7, which is just feet away from the front porch, will prove useful. He's hoping that someone saw something that could give investigators a lead. 

The busy roadway already proved useful once. A truck driving traveling down the road saw the flames and stopped to use a chemical fire retardant until firefighters could arrive. 

According to Chief Snyder, investigators aren't releasing details of whether there was an accelerant used, or who may have been the target of the arson, but he says the damage to the home could be at least a couple thousand dollars. 

Snyder told 21 News that through a Blue Ribbon Arson Award, the department is able to offer a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist. 

Investigators have spoken to neighbors and witness to try to get a clearer picture of what happened. Snyder said, unfortunately, there are no surveillance cameras nearby. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Trumbull County Fire Investigators at 330-219-5090 or 330-719-7849, or the Trumbull County 911 Center's non-emergency number 330-675-2730. 

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