Brian Kelly and Michael Calhoun

CAHOKIA, Ill. (KMOX) – A fire that damaged two vacant houses in the 100 block of Amelia is just the latest in a series of suspicious fires in that troubled neighborhood.

Late Saturday, however, police said they’d arrested a suspect. No further information was available.

Camp Jackson Fire Protection District Chief Chris Davis tells KMOX the blaze started in a car port between the two houses. One house was vacant, the interior of the other had recently been refurbished.

The fire broke out shortly after firefighters had put out a suspicious car fire about a block away, and was across the street from where a home was gutted by fire last week. Davis says the cause of the previous house fire is under investigation.  That one broke out just before another suspicious fire was started at a house a couple of blocks away.

This is the same neighborhood that police swept through a few months ago, making several arrests on a variety of charges.      amelia Another Suspicious Fire In Troubled Metro East Neighborhood

Neighbor Carlos Anthony says, “This is chaos man, I’m just sick of it.”

Anthony tells KMOX the fires are personal, “A lot of these people have a lot of beef amongst each other, and one way of getting back to ’em is burning up their property.”

Anthony doesn’t think we’ve seen the last of the fires, “It’s real deep. It’s not something that’s going to blow over. It’s a lot of issues that’s going on that a lot of people don’t know about. It’s serious.”

Another neighbor says she saw the man who set one of the previous fires, “He stood and looked like he didn’t even do anything and ran and got up into his truck with his gas can.”  That woman says she has given a description to police, but the suspect hasn’t been identified.

That woman says the neighborhood used to be terrorized by gunshots, “They done locked the guys up that was doing all the shooting. There ain’t been no shooting out here. Now, it’s fire.”

Copyright KMOX Radio


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