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Arson suspected in East Cleveland house fire that hospitalized elderly couple

Front, back door torched while couple slept
Posted at 5:49 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 19:49:58-04

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — State fire investigators believe a fire that sent an elderly East Cleveland couple to the hospital early Saturday was arson.

Investigators said two separate fires were set at the front and back doors of the home in the 14000 block of Orinoco Avenue just after 4 a.m. Saturday.

Firefighters rescued 80-year-old Barbara Isom and her husband. Both were treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation.

"It was a death threat and they almost succeeded," said Isom.

Isom said she and her husband lived in the home for 55 years, putting their blood, sweat and tears into it.

Monday, the couple returned to the home to pack up what they could.

"It's hard," said Isom. "Think about it, 55 years and this is what it ends up. Heartbreaking."

The couple has a theory as to why they were targeted, but it's now up to state investigators to determine.

But, the family believes there's no doubt the arsonist tried to kill them.

The fires blocked both of the exits to the home.

"Sick, sick, sick, deranged individual that would do that to some senior citizens," said the couple's daughter Yolanda Isom. "80-year-old people who can't run."

The family is hoping a $5,000 reward for information in the case leads to an arrest soon.

But after 55 years on Orinoco Avenue, the Isoms said they'll await justice someplace else.

"We're gone," said Barbara Isom. "We're gone. East Cleveland is a done deal."

"They will not ever be comfortable in this house again," said Yolanda Isom. "They will be up every night wondering is somebody coming for me."

To the person responsible, the Isoms' daughter has this message:

"I hope y'all get caught soon," said Yolanda Isom. "I'm a girl. I'm the baby. But I'm mean and I'm evil. I hope y'all get caught soon."

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the State Fire Marshal's tip line at 1-800-589-2728.