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Suspect arrested after attempting to set fire to abandoned Cleveland house for fifth time

Posted at 11:12 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 11:35:32-05

CLEVELAND — A man is in custody after being suspected of setting fire to an abandoned home four times over the course of seven months and trying to set it on fire a fifth time Thursday evening, according to the Cleveland Division of Fire.

Before Thursday night’s attempt, investigators said none of the previous four fires were accidental. The first fire occurred in May. The second blaze followed in October. Two more fires were set back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

The suspect's identity has not yet been disclosed, but he is in custody following a Thursday evening arrest, authorities said.

Neighbors previously expressed their frustrations with the arson as the flames from the abandoned building had caused damage to some of the surrounding homes.

“It feels terrible. You don’t know whether to go to sleep or stay up,” Rose Clark said, “Always watching and every little thing you hear outside you’re looking out the window.”

The siding on her home is melted and warped from the heat of the repeated fires.

Councilman Mike Polensek said the torched house is still standing and posing a threat because the City of Cleveland’s Building and Housing department hasn’t been able to track down the out-of-state owner of the home.

A spokesperson with the City of Cleveland assured News 5 Thursday that the home will be demolished by the end of the year.

RELATED: Abandoned home torched four times in 2019 will be demolished by end of the year, city says