Local News

Wayne County home set on fire twice

Posted February 12, 2009 11:26 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Investigators believe an arsonist is responsible for setting fire to the same Wayne County home twice since last week.

The home at 319 Brentwood Drive is occupied by 58-year-old Blondell Oates, her legally blind 52-year-old sister and 84-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Oates was inside with her sister and mother when the first blaze was started at the front door around 6 a.m. on Feb. 6.

“It was frightening,” Oates said.

Blondell Oates' brother, Loo Oates, who lives just down the road, helped the women escape the home, which included taking his mother out of her hospital bed.

“We had to pull her out of her hospital bed on a sheet under the carport,” Loo Oates said.

The fire caused about $1,500 in damage.

On Wednesday night another fire was started at the side door around 9:45 p.m.  A neighbor saw the fire and was able to extinguish the majority of the flames with a water hose.

The arsonist has also left behind notes for the victims inside the home. The notes have led deputies to believe the arsonist may have torched the wrong house.

“The subject of the notes does not seem like it relates to these people at all,” Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tom Effler said.

Investigators will not say what is in the notes.

The women said they stay to themselves and have no idea why anyone would want to hurt them.

“You don’t know why you are the target and you don’t know the motive,” Blondell Oates said.

Blondell Oates, her sister and mother plan to stay somewhere else until their home is safe.

“We are gonna catch them,” Loo Oates said.

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office at 919-731-1481 or Wayne County Crime Stoppers at 919-735-2255. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.