Suspicious car fire sets home on fire

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - An unexplained car fire quickly gets out of hand, burning two vehicles and setting fire to a home.

It happened around 3:30 Thursday morning at a home on the corner of East Branch Street and East Sycamore Lane in Longview.

Fire crews were called out to blazing vehicles which had begun to burn the adjacent home on Sycamore.

"The origin of the fire is out in the vehicle area where the two vehicles were," said J.P. Steelman, the Longview fire chief. "Both of those vehicles, when crews arrived, were fully involved that fire had extended to the attached portion of the garage of the residence and was quickly trying to extend to the rest of the residence."

The victim's, Pete and Margie Litterski, are the founders of Operation Appreciation in Longview which sends thousands of care packages to troops overseas each year.

"Then, we heard some kind of noise, a bang or something like that," said Pete and Margie Litterski. "I started to open the garage door and when I saw how bright the fire was, I said that is not a good idea so I closed it. The fire was huge."

"The Litterski's, they have been prominent in the community through all their volunteer activities and they are deeply thought of here in Longview," said Steelman.

The fire quickly got out of hand. The car caught the truck on fire, then jumped to the garage.

"A lot of times when vehicles burn, there's a lot of pops - small explosions, tires blowing, things like that," explained Steelman. "So, fortunately, they were awakened by that and able to vacate the residence before they were in harm's way."

The Litterski's say there had been previous car vandalism in the neighborhood, but don't know if this is connected.

"Things like this happen to anyone," they said. "God is good. We're OK...We have a lot of damage but we have all our memories - all our family photos that we were worried about."

It was a hard reality for two people who have done so much to help our troops overseas.

"Everything we're concerned about is safe," said Pete. "It starts with her, it starts with Margie and moves on to everything."

The Litterski's are insured, but lost both of their vehicles and will be staying with family while the damage to their home is accessed.

Anyone with information on the fire is asked to call the Longview Fire Department.

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