Screw you, mysterious pyromaniac!

Yes, that’s right…screw you guy.

See, there’s a pyromaniac preying on my street. Or my alley, to be more precise. In the last month, we have had FOUR fires in our alley, with the most recent being Sunday night, and not actually in our alley but in our BUILDING.

It started about 3 ½ weeks ago, when someone lit a couch on fire in the alley (it was just sitting against the back of the end building). Firemen came and put it out but there was some damage to the building and a huge smoke mark all the way up to the fourth floor. Woke us all up in the middle of the night, though, with the smell of smoke and the sirens.

A few days later, the Dumpster outside the building next door to our building was set on fire. This was about 2 a.m. and the firemen came again & put it out, and the only damage was to the Dumpster—and that we were all awakened again with the smell and the sirens.

Two weeks ago, we were awakened again with the smell of smoke and sirens in the middle of the night, to find that the Dumpster on the other side of our building was set on fire. This time, however, the Dumpster was set against a garage (instead of in the middle of the alley, like the other one was). The people who own the house do a lot of home-projects and the garage was full of half-finished projects (like dressers and stuff) and tons of paint and stripper, etc. The flames in the Dumpster got too high and caught the overhanging rafters from the garage on fire and the whole garage went up. It’s a burnt mess except for the brick. This garage is about 10 feet from my front door and it was pretty scary to have a fire that close. It’s all taped off with yellow tape and stuff.

Since it’s been two weeks, it was finally starting to smell a little less like a campsite and wasn’t bothering me too much. Then Sunday night happened. Let me mention that I started a new job on Monday and so was very interested in getting a good night’s sleep on Sunday. Ha!

Woke up about 1:30 to the sound of someone pounding on a neighboring apartment door. Then I smelled smoke, a lot stronger than before and went outside to see what was going on *this * time. The guys upstairs were already outside and yelling at me that our laundry room was on fire. The laundry room is on the other side of the building, but shares a wall with us and the apartment next to it on the other side. While I was standing there, I saw that all the outdoor light fixtures had smoke coming out of them…then they flickered and went out. I ran back inside and was totally shaking as I tried to wake up my husband, who as usual was sleeping like a rock and wouldn’t wake up. I said, “Honey! The building’s on fire! Come on!” and he got up and ran outside in his boxers and t-shirt. I grabbed my shoes, a sweatshirt and my cell phone, and by that time Hubby had ran back in to see where the heck I was so I told him to grab my purse and we ran out. Our car was parked out back and we were afraid if the fire spread it would get burned, so we jumped in and drove down past the fire truck in the alley to the end of the block.

The police had all the streets blocked off and they actually made us park and get out. We walked back up to our building to see there were four more fire trucks in front of the building plus a ton of other smaller fire vehicles. They did get the fire put out but not before it torched the laundry room, electrical room and the apartment upstairs from the laundry.

Thankfully, we have no fire damage in our apartment—however, the firemen did break our door when they went in (I had left it unlocked! I guess they are in too much of a hurry to try knobs) and also they made a big hole in the wall we share with the apartment next to the laundry room. Of course, everything smells like smoke but there’s no water or fire damage so I guess that’s something. Also, nobody was hurt. The guy in the apartment next to the laundry room had gotten home from work about a half-hour earlier and was up making something to eat when he saw the flames out his window. He called 911 and then went around banging on doors (there’s only 12 apartments in our building, so he got them all). Every person in the building said that their fire alarms did not go off, including ours. We are all so lucky that guy was up or who knows what would have happened.

The Fire Chief came out and said the power was out for the whole building and we would be “displaced” for at least 3 days. He also told us they thought it was an “electrical” fire, which I don’t really know what that means, but we all pretty much think that whoever has been starting all the other fires was responsible for this one too, especially since the laundry room door is on the outside of the building and therefore accessible to the public, and also has a lock which does not work. Oh, and also they store old carpet and paint cans in the electrical room. That’s prolly not too smart.

The Red Cross showed up and gave us vouchers for a hotel and food at a nearby IHOP. After the fire was out and they checked for hotspots and everything, they let us go back in to pack an overnight bag. We got to the hotel about 4:30 a.m. and I was exhausted and worried about starting my new job on Monday morning. Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep a wink. I was so worried that maybe they didn’t get it all put out and that our apartment was going to catch on fire after everyone left, plus I was all jittery from being so scared. Totally sucked.

I made it to the new job on Monday and was actually pretty awake until about 2 p.m. and then I was totally wiped out. The new job let me leave early so we could get our lodging situation figured out. The Red Cross said we could stay in the basement of some church, but had to be out in the mornings by 7 a.m. We decided to go to my mother-in-law’s about 20 miles away instead. But first, we stopped at the apartment to see how bad the smoke was. We had left the windows open all night, so it wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought it would be—our clothes didn’t smell but I think our furniture still does. We packed up some more stuff, went and ate at IHOP and then realized that no power meant the fridge was slowly getting warm. We put everything salvageable into grocery bags (the frozen stuff was all still frozen) and took them to my bachelor father, who was quite pleased not to have to go grocery shopping this week.
We also saw the owner of the building who told us it would be at least a week before the power was back up, and possibly more depending on the condition of the wiring in the rest of the building.

So…that’s just great. I am now really scared and do not want to move back in if/when the building is livable again. I guess that’s not really too bad since we were planning on moving soon anyway…we’ll just use this time to find a new place. But it totally sucks that I feel afraid now. What sick kind of individual gets his kicks by destroying things? By jeopardizing people’s lives? He’s got me trained now to get a rush of fear when I smell that smoke. I can’t get it out of my nose! I’m just so pissed that some jerk is doing this. I don’t believe for one second that the same guy didn’t set my building on fire. I am still in a state of shock. I feel so bad for the people whose apartment is burned up. They lost so much…and it easily could have been like that for us.

Holy fuck! I hope they catch the guy.

Oh my God! I’m so glad that you and your hubby are ok! I hope they catch him too! :frowning:

I am so sorry that such a thing had to happen to you. That’s just a horrible story.

Good luck in finding a new place, finding peace, and finding the idioticl culprit.

I’m glad you’re okay, Sunshine. Hugs to the people who lost their apartment.

I’m confused, though, about the layout of your building. How can it share a wall with the laundry room if they’re on opposite sides of the building?

[sub]Our apartment is above the laundry room. Worse yet, it backs up to someone else’s.[/sub]

Thanks, everybody. So far, still no news about anything. The fire chief is being very closed-mouthed on this, so hopefully that means they were just b.s.-ing when they said “electrical fire”.

Rilch, we have a weird building. There are 12 units, 4 on the bottom and 8 on the top. The doors all open to the outside (meaning, it’s not your usual apt. building with doors that open to interior hallways). Plus, instead of the doors facing the street and alley, the building is turned sideways so the doors are along the sides of the building. Our apartment (#D) and the guy who woke everyone up (#B) are at the back of the building, towards the alley. We share a common wall for much of the length of the apartment, but then at the very back of the building, set in the middle partway between our apartments is the laundry room. We each also have a common wall with the laundry room that makes a jog into our living rooms so our living rooms aren’t quite rectangle. The laundry room runs perpendicular to the way our apartments run–our apartments run lengthwise (from street to alley) but the laundry room runs along the back of the building from side to side) The door to the laundry is on #B’s side of the building, right next to his front door. Next to our front door is just a blank wall, the “back” wall of the laundry (meaning the wall opposite from the door) It has been surprisingly quiet being next to the laundry room–we have never heard a thing, so the walls must be pretty thick or maybe the laundry room isn’t as big as I thought and there’s storage or something in there too. Right next to our front door is the dryer vent, which means whenever someone is doing laundry, we get that nice warm dryer smell that I love. Only drawback is that there is always a bunch of lint on the ground that gets tracked in.

Anyway…long story short (too late!), I hope that explains it.

Pyromania? More like arson.

I hope they catch the fucker and make him put out matches with his testicles.

Just spoke with our property management company and they said the Fire Chief has confirmed the fire as arson, and are assuming it’s the same person(s) who did the others. (Duh! But thanks for letting us know, I guess.)

Also, the owner is installing security gates in the front of the building (we already had them at the back) and has a contractor working on fixing the exectrical as we speak. Only problem is, with something like this, when you do repairs, if anything else is not up to code you have to fix that too, so there will be some other stuff that is also getting fixed to meet code. The city has given the owner 10 days from yesterday to get it done. The owner has promised to refund a prorated amount of the April rent for however many days we are displaced. (Of course, he still owes me a check from the power bill in October, so who knows if/when he’ll ever actually pay up.)

OMG I’m SO glad you are ok! Arson is one of those really evil crimes that I’ll never understand :frowning:

I think I agree with you about moving. Living in an arsonist’s playground is not a good thing. Next time you might not be so lucky.

I see. Thank you.

God, I hope they catch this fucker.

I can’t believe you let a guy set 4 fires right beside your house in four weeks without doing anything about it. After the second one you should have taken turns with the neighbors staying up at night with a shotgun.

I do believe the state of Arizona allows you to shoot an arsonist caught in the attempt or the actual act, if there are three or more people inside the attempted building, as a legitimite act of self-defense of third parties.

You don’t by chance live in Arizona, do you? :smiley:

I’d cap the little fucker on sight. Just on principle.

But that’s me, though.

New Hampshire also allows shooting arsonists. And after the seconds one you bet we’d have organized a neighborhood watch.


My turn on night watch would involve my Remington Model 700 with a nice 3x9 nightvision scope and 150 grain loads.


Would get a one way trip to the cemetery.

Yeah, a watch or something would have been a good idea…I guess none of us really thought anything bad would ever happen to us. You know how that goes…hindsight is always 20/20. But I really do hope they catch whoever this is. I don’t want any more people to have to feel the way I do.

I heard on the news there is a real problem right now in Denver with Russian and Romanian gangs. I wonder if this is a gang kind of thing or just some crazy moron.