Suspicious house fire in west Phoenix is under investigation

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A house fire call for crews in west Phoenix turned more dangerous than usual when they found a huge note on the door.  It warned of possible ammunition inside the house so firefighters had to get out.

Investigators suspect arson and the man who lives inside the house is on the run.

"I'm just trying to figure out what's going on," said Catherine Daigneault, the homeowner's daughter.  She said she is desperate to find the man who's been living there the last few months.

"He's a family friend was having difficulties both financially and personally," she said.

And now he's suspected of starting the house on fire early Monday morning and leaving notes for firefighters.

"There were two different letters taped to the garage door," Daigneault said. "Part of the letter was a suicide note and was warning firefighters that the home was hazardous with live ammunition in the house."

Phoenix firefighters said the note surprised them.

"A couple firefighters had already forced entry, broke down the door and tried to get in to knock down the fire and see if anyone needed help," said Capt. Jorge Enriquez. "Then the captain came in behind and noticed a note on the door and quickly pulled the crews out."

The note read in part:  

"I started this fire on purpose. Please have the police check into this. This weighs heavy on my conscience. I can't kill anyone but myself."

The note definitely shook some firefighters.

"We're going into a fire, it's already dangerous enough, but to have a note and someone maliciously try to hurt you when you are trying to save property and people, it's a bad situation made worse," Enriquez said.

Investigators believe this fire was arson and reportedly found some accelerant in the back bedroom where the fire started. Further complicating things, Enriquez said, "The house was kind of like a hoarder's house with a lot of things stacked up high, it was hard to get to the back, there was a lot of fuel inside there."

Daigneault admits she and her family have a lot of questions and concerns and just hope their houseguest is OK.

His name is not being released as fire officials investigate.