New Haven fire latest in string of vacant homes burned

This is all that remains of vacant house on Madge Ave. in New Haven.

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WANE) A vacant home in New Haven burnt to the ground in the early morning hours Monday.

The home on Madge Ave in New Haven is at least the second vacant home to burn down in the neighborhood in the past several weeks. District Fire Chief Carl Bradtmueller said fires like these are a rare occurrence.

“These are the first two that we’ve had in several years that I can recall,” Bradtmueller said.

About two miles away in Fort Wayne it’s a different story. Adam O’Connor with the Fort Wayne Fire Department said there have been at least 15 vacant home fires in the past couple of months. Those fires were spread out between the Blackhawk, Oakhurst and Walden neighborhoods.

“It’s abnormal to have them clustered together in this small area, especially in that neighborhood,” O’Connor said. “That neighborhood is a nice neighborhood and they’re not dilapidated houses they are vacant houses that are for sale typically.”

With as many as 17 vacant home fires in Allen County in the past couple of months are they related?

“It’s curious, but at this time we have no leads to tell us they are tied together,” O’Connor said.

However, Fort Wayne fire investigators are still working to see if there is a link.

Meanwhile, firefighters are asking neighborhoods and people living in those areas to be vigilant.

“We’d like people in that area to be cognizant any suspicious activity or anybody hanging around after hours. Leave your lights on your back porch,” O’Connor said. “That will help steer people away from your home.”

“I think our best protection against these fires is for the neighborhood associations or just people in general is to keep an eye on their neighbor’s house whether they’re home or on vacation. The best way we can stop these people is by getting information from the neighbors,” Bradtmueller said.

O’Connor said in the cases of the Fort Wayne fires, there are persons of interest, but no suspects. There have been no arrests.

In New Haven the investigations remain open.

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