UPDATE: SBPD searching for suspect in house fire

By: NewsCenter 16 staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 staff Email

SOUTH BEND South Bend police are searching for a woman they believe set a home on fire late Monday night.

The home is just north of the City Cemetery in South Bend, in the 1100 block of West Harvey.

Crews put the blaze out quickly, but the front of the home appears to be destroyed.

“The crews had a great attack on it, “Battalion Chief Mark Catanzarite says. “We were able to bring the fire under control in relatively quick fashion. The fire was knocked out in about 12-15 minutes, and given the volume of fire we had, it was a really good knockdown.”

The man who lives inside the home, 59-year-old Dwane Laster, was not injured.

South Bend Police Capt. Phil Trent says the fire is being considered arson.

Before it broke out, Trent says Laster, another man and a woman were inside.

Laster asked the woman to leave and, once she was outside, refused to let her back into the house.

Trent says the woman then threatened to light the house on fire. Five minutes later, a couch on the porch went up in flames.

Trent says Laster keeps all of his grilling supplies outside, including charcoal and lighter fluid. He says it's likely the woman used those supplies to start the blaze.

Police tried tracking the suspect down Monday night, but had no luck. Her name isn't being released.

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