Fire investigators say arsonists intentionally destroyed two more El Paso homes under construction Saturday.
Not one, not two, not three or four, but five homes under construction have now been targeted by arsonists, except this latest fire nearly killed the families living next door.
The fire happened in the 14400 block of Misty Point in far east El Paso.
“The flames at least exceeded 30 feet in the air. Wood was cracking. The heat was intense,” said one neighbor.
“I woke up to a neighbor banging on my door, saying my house is on fire; ten seconds later, I’m naked in the street,” said Albert Finochiaro, who had no idea what was going on. He just knew he needed to escape. “I was just trying to get out before my house actually caught up and got going,” he said.”
The fire didn’t just level these two homes under construction; it also burned the sides of the homes next door. One family already had to board up their windows after the flames shattered the glass and melted the plastic on a window.
Albert gave ABC-7 a tour of the inside of the home he moved into just one month ago. There’s not much furniture but plenty of damage.
On the inside of the home, the beams of a roof were exposed, and the insulation, framework, and drywall were falling apart.
Back outside: black ashy piles of charred lumber, a trampoline mangled by the heat, gaping holes on a roof now covered by a tarp, and plenty of angry neighbors.
“The worst nightmare would be if somebody got hurt,” said Albert.
“Whoever’s doing this, it’d be in their best interest to stop, because this time they lit houses around occupied houses,” said neighbor Mario Moreno, adding, you need to stop what you’re doing. A bunch of us are out here watching, especially with this action. We’re gonna be keeping a close eye. I hope they catch him as soon as possible because this shouldn’t go unpaid for.”
“There’s two kids that live next door – thank God they’re all right,” said Albert.
The total damage from Saturday’s fire and the other four arson fires is estimated at $1.5 million. Because the investigation is still ongoing, fire investigators won’t elaborate on how these fires were set.
However, they do urge anyone with information to come forward.