Arsonist Strikes Again

Thursday, April 12th 2007, 4:42 pm
By: News On 6

The hunt is on for an arsonist who’s on the loose in a south Tulsa neighborhood. Fire investigators believe the same suspect is responsible for at least eight fires, all started in the past couple days. The latest was set Thursday morning at the 5400 Apartments, located near 54th and Vandalia. Fire investigators think the arsonist broke into a vacant apartment turned on the gas and set the building on fire. The News On 6’s Joshua Brakhage reports this all happened while firefighters were a block away talking to reporters about this arsonist’s fiery trail.

Investigators believe the arsonist’s night started near 51st and Yale. Early Thursday morning the Tulsa Fire Department was called to the Village Inn where a van had been set on fire. Firefighters were also called to a small fire at nearby LaFortune Park. Officials say someone tried to start two fires in the park, but they never took.

Just before 11 a.m. Thursday the suspect sparked another fire at the 5400 Apartments. Luckily the damage was minimal, but the same can't be said at the Barcelona. Dozens of families were displaced Wednesday, including one that never got settled.

"I opened the door and I could already see smoke behind him and he was yelling the apartment is on fire," said resident Reverend Kristine Maulden.

Reverend Kristine Maulden just moved with her husband and two little boys from Indiana. She's a new priest at Trinity Episcopal downtown. It's a congregation known for feeding the homeless, now their minister is homeless herself.

"We got a few things out, we got a wedding album out that was untouched, we got some pictures out, my husband's coffee cup, but everything else was toast," Maulden said.

Everything Kristine could save fits into a laundry basket, and just because she could retrieve it, doesn't mean she can revive it. One thing she hoped to save was her violin that her mother and grandmother played. It's soaked, but not charred, unlike her furniture, important documents and wedding dress.

Luckily, a 5-year-old can put this tragedy in perspective.

"He's talking to his little brother who's not yet two and says ‘Richard, we've lost some of our toys, we've lost some of our clothes, but we have mommy and daddy and we're together.’ What more can you say to that?" Maulden said.

Reverend Maulden says she's on the lookout for anyone suspicious. Fire investigators say that's the key, since people in the neighborhood know who's supposed to be here and who isn't. Officials say if you see something out of the ordinary call the Arrest Arson hotline, 596-2776.

Related Stories:

4/11/2007 Multiple Fires Damage Apartment Complex

4/12/2007 Firefighters One Step Behind An Arsonist