Fire investigators refuse to say if serial arsonist is on the loose in Cleveland

Reward offered for information leading to arson arrest.

Fire investigators refuse to say if serial arsonist is on the loose in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - An arson fire at an abandoned home where a firefighter broke his ankle and leg was the backdrop for a call from the city for information leading to an arrest.

Investigators said the fire was unremarkable, but as always, firefighters entered to make sure there was no one inside.

While doing that, a lieutenant fell through the floor, seriously breaking his ankle and leg. That made the fire personal to Chief Angelo Calvillo.

“My firefighters go to work every day to protect the citizens of Cleveland. When they call that 911 and it’s a structure fire, we’re going to come out to rescue life. But when that fire is caused by an arson, it’s a totally different ballgame,” Chief Calvillo said.

“Arson is a serious crime. We don’t always think of it that way, but it is a serious crime," said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

The reality of arson is that each and every one puts lives in jeopardy.

Firefighters joined Mayor Jackson in underscoring the need for tips to catch the arsonist, even putting up a reward along with arson signs.

While the April fire and the injury made a good background for the issue of arson, 19 News asked if it was tied to a string of fires.

In short a firebug, we were brushed off with, “It’s under investigation.”

“Once again any investigation has to be put through the process and it’s under investigation,” Chief Calvillo answered when asked when the results will be released.

"A lot of times people may feel that they’re actually doing a service to the city by getting rid of a vacant house, but that’s not the way to go about it’ added Cleveland Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland; a sad comment on the situation.

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