Family of 5 escapes fire, home burglarized overnight - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Family of 5 escapes fire, home burglarized overnight


A fire displaced a family of five in Longview Thursday night, gutting their home before crews could arrive.

Firefighters were called around 8:15 to a home in the 1,300 block of Young Street.

The flames were quickly put out, but we're told the home did suffer extensive smoke and water damage.

Investigators say the family was using a kitchen appliance to warm the house, and that's what started the fire.

No one was injured.

But insult is added to the families loss, as police are called back to the home Friday to find the burned out home had been burglarized.

Police say someone took advantage of the family's misfortune.

After the fire had been doused, and the residents left, someone made their way back to the burned shell of the home.

Officer Kristine Brian with the Longview Police Department says, "Sometime during the night someone did get into the house."

And getting in took some effort.

"They put a refrigerator in front of the back door because the hinges had come off," explained Brian, "Entry may have been made through the back door by pushing the door and refrigerator out of the way."

Police say jewelry was stolen.

Police and fire personnel sometimes call these suspects scavengers, and they'll even show up to working fires sometimes to scout--to see if a home is lightly damaged and they might come back and get something of value."

Those that do this are counting on no one paying attention to a burned out home. The method of operation is to wait until the scene is cleared and the residents have left then come back in the dark of night.

"It was after the fire department left and the homeowners left last night," says Brian, "Too much smoke and everything, couldn't get any prints."

But police say they do have a person of interest.

Police say because the property was uninhabitable, the charge for this crime would be a class-b misdemeanor--based on the amount of property that was taken.

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