NEW CASTLE, Ind. (WISH) — One man has been arrested following a string of house fires investigators said were set intentionally earlier this month.
New Castle police arrested Joshua Dunham, 24, on four counts of arson in the case. They believe he intentionally set at least three homes on fire, and possibly a fourth. Four homes were destroyed, and four others were damaged.
The fires happened in the early morning hours of June 6. It happened on the southeast side of the city on 17th, 18th and 19th streets.
Neighbors on 19th Street can breath a sigh of relief.
“I’m glad they caught him. He doesn’t realize he could’ve killed people,” said Dave Thompson, who lives on 19th Street.
But it’s a brief sigh of relief. Because right next to Thompson’s home is a massive mound of charred rubble. It’s an unpleasant reminder of where two homes once stood. A little more than a week ago, police say, Dunham lit them on fire.
“By the time I got in the living room, the cops were screaming ‘Get out. Get out. You don’t have time to do this. Get out,'” said Thompson.
He managed to get out only to find his neighborhood was a raging inferno.
“Nothing but flames and all red. The fire, it was so close,” he said.
The flames were so hot that they damaged four other surrounding homes. One home was more than 75 feet away. The heat was so intense that it melted the home’s siding. Thompson’s home had roof damage and three windows shattered, as well as melted siding and his fence melted.
Just blocks away on 17th and 18th streets, two other homes were set on fire and destroyed. According to New Castle Mayor Greg York, Dunham admitted to setting the fires for no reason.
“There was no connection to relatives owning the homes. There was no connection to friends owning the homes. It makes no sense other than in his confession, he said he was just out running around that night setting fires,” said Mayor York.
Surveillance cameras allegedly captured Dunham’s vehicle on the scene of one blaze, which led to his arrest and a little peace in the neighborhood.
“It was kind of scary going to sleep. I don’t know. Just still smell the smell,” said Thompson.
No one was hurt, but some people were displaced.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal had offered a reward in the case.
This investigation is still ongoing.