Arson suspected in house fire

Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE — Police are investigating a suspected arson that occurred last weekend.

At 3 a.m. Sunday, firefighters responded to the blaze at a house in the 19100 block of Harman.

Police Chief Rick Cadez said no one was harmed in the blaze. The family — a mother, father and two children, were not in the house at the time.

“It definitely appears to be arson,” Cadez said. “There was no one home at the time. We are in the process of investigating what possibly happened.”

Fire Chief Daniel Wilhelm said the house exploded, blowing off the south wall and melting the vinyl siding off a house next door. He said the discovery of two 5-gallon gas cans in the basement pointed to arson.

“Samples (from the house) definitely smell like gasoline,” Wilhelm said. “There’s every indication that gasoline was used.”

Wilhelm said the samples were sent to a laboratory as part of the investigation.

He said the fire likely originated in the basement. When the furnace kicked on, the fumes ignited, he said.

Two Melvindale fire trucks and one Allen Park fire truck responded. Sixteen firefighters spent a total of three hours extinguishing the fire.

Wilhelm said there are no suspects at this time.