Burn victim, half-brother tells truth about 1996 house fire

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- When Mark O’Banion was charged with two counts of arson, it came to no surprise for one South Bend man. And it just so happened he was his half-brother.

“It was a smack in the face of a bad reality,” Donald Rose said.
Prosecutors say O’Banion deliberately set three separate fires in a mobile home on the 1000 block of Mayflower Road after a domestic dispute Wednesday Night.

O’Banion had been involved in another fire nearly 20 years ago. His family had been decimated by a fire that took the lives of two of his siblings and severely burned both himself and Rose. Now Rose is coming forward with a harsh truth from his past.

“The actual truth behind it is he started that fire,” Rose said. “I was scared so I put the blame on other people because I wanted to protect Mark. I didn’t know what was going to happen, I was a kid.”

Rose says his half-brother was the reason his brother and sister were killed during the fire in 1996 because he was playing with lighters in their bedroom. Even after the traumatic events Rose and his family have gone through, he feels it’s his duty to make sure no other family has to endure the pain he has.

“I want to prevent it from happening again,” Rose said. “I feel like I need to come out and enough is enough because the stuff he did Wednesday Night, he could have hurt somebody else and taken something away from another family.”

While it’s been a bumpy road for Rose, he has found solace in expressing his emotions musically, through Hip Hop. He began rapping at age 16 as a form of therapy and is still rapping with help from his cousin, local rapper D-Low Flexxican, and his friend J.B. Real.

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