Morning house fire investigated as arson

WARREN — A fire early Thursday at 1369 Adelaide Ave. SE that could have ended tragically is being investigated as an arson, according to Warren fire Chief Kenneth Nussle.

“There was the smell of gasoline found on the exterior of the house,” Nussle said. “This could have been a tragedy. This is the first arson investigation in 2019 in which there were occupants in the house at the time the fire began.”

A fire at 2374 W. Market St. in May also is being investigated as an arson. No arrests have been made in that investigation.

Thursday’s fire, which was reported around 5:30 a.m., primarily was contained to the exterior of the house, according to Nussle. It caused approximately $8,000 worth of damage to the property. There was smoke, but no fire damage, to the inside. A police report states the home’s exterior front door was destroyed.

Fire officials were notified about the fire by someone who drove past the house and called about shrubs being on fire, Nussle said. It was not until firefighters arrived that they learned an accelerant was used to start the flames.

The home’s occupants were already outside when firefighters arrived on scene, the chief said.

Hakim Caldwell, 51, who lives in the home, told police he didn’t have any idea how the fire began, according to a police report.

About an hour after the Adelaide blaze, firefighters responded to a call at 1530 Vernon Ave. NW, where a Ford F-150 truck was found engulfed in flames. There was no damage to the house. That cause is expected to be ruled accidental.