DES MOINES, Iowa — The owners of a vacant home that burned to the ground on Friday night in the 1900 block Indianola Avenue are now faced with a pile of rubble, and they suspect arson is to blame.
“The fire department said it was fully engulfed in flames a couple of minutes after they’d have been here, so they think that something very flammable was what started it,” said Heather Perry.
Perry and her boyfriend had owned the property and were attempting to renovate and sell it. She said while the home was vacant, they found out a homeless man had moved in.
“My boyfriend Larry and I came over here, and he basically kicked the homeless guy out and threw all his property in a circle in the house, and that pissed him off,” said Perry.
Perry said that happened on Wednesday. She believes the man either left something on that started the fire, or started the fire himself to get back at them.
“I mean, I feel bad for him, but, I mean, there’s many other places they could go. Especially to burn our house down?” she said.
Arson investigators have not made a determination on the cause. The couple says they didn’t take out homeowner’s insurance on the property, and are now tackling cleanup themselves.
“We’re cleaning it up ourselves so the city doesn’t charge us thousands of dollars,” said Perry.
Perry also said they’ve spent thousands of dollars on the home; they’ve been working on it for two years.
“We bought it for a good price and started working on it, tearing it out, we just kept coming across more problems and more problems as we tried to remodel it. It’s pretty disappointing, but I’m just glad that nobody got hurt,” she said.
Fire officials say the house was structurally unsound and could only prevent the flames from spreading to neighboring homes.