Officials say van-house fire was arson

A van caught fire near a home in Middlebury, catching the house on fire.
Posted on May 18, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

MIDDLEBURY — The Elkhart Sheriff’s Department, Middlebury Fire Department and State Fire Marshal’s office are investigating what they declared was a set fire at a residence in Middlebury.

The fire department responded to a vehicle and house fire at 10:50 p.m. Thursday at Kia Marino’s residence at 12353 Pine Cone Drive. A van that was parked outside caught on fire and spread to the house. The van was owned by Mitzy Hardesty, a relative.

Assisting at the scene were the Bristol Fire Department, the Elkhart sheriff’s department and the Middlebury and Bristol police departments.

Four people were in the house when the fire started. No one was injured but there was severe damage to the house and the family was displaced, losing most of their belongings.

Kyle Swartz, fire investigator and paramedic at the Middlebury Fire Department, said this is the fourth set fire in the area in the last six weeks.

The sheriff and Middlebury fire departments had been investigating three fires that happened at that area on March 28. Between 4:07 and 5:41 a.m. the fire department responded to a vehicle fire at 53336 Palmetto Drive, a shed fire at 53245 Hilltop Drive and a house fire at 53162 Palmetto Drive.

Swartz asked anyone with information on any of the fires to call the Middlebury Fire Department or the Elkhart Sheriff’s Department at 533-4151.


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