Phoenix FD: Historic & vacant home destroyed fire; family calls it arson

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Linda Gonzalez said she spotted a man a couple of nights before trying to torch the vacant home. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Linda Gonzalez said she spotted a man a couple of nights before trying to torch the vacant home. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The home was destroyed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The home was destroyed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Gonzalez family has to stay with relatives due to the damage to their house. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Gonzalez family has to stay with relatives due to the damage to their house. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Former owners of a historic vacant home that went up in flames near 13th and Monroe streets early Thursday morning said it was the target of an arsonist.

According to the Phoenix Fire Department, when crews arrived, they declared it a defensive fire due to a large amount of fire in the house. Crews set up large streamlines to extinguish the fire while also extending hand lines to protect the surrounding homes. 

One home to the east of the original house fire did catch fire from the radiant heat. The second house fire was isolated to the roof and attic space. Linda Gonzalez and her family were inside the home at the time but Phoenix fire said they made it out safely.

The heat from the fire damaged nearby power lines. Phoenix FD said APS had to shut down power to the entire block. 

Gonzalez and her family said the vacant home had been in her family for generations and sold it to an out-of-state investor a couple of years ago. 

Gonzalez said the family spotted a man trying to torch the old home just two nights ago.

"The night before we caught a person, a male Hispanic person, running from the back of the yard and he got into his car and took off. When he went around to the back of the house he was starting it on fire," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez is convinced that whoever tried to set the old home on fire two nights ago came back and finished the job on Wednesday night.

The damage to their home was so bad Gonzalez said they will stay with relatives on Thursday night.

"We're all OK I guess. It all comes down, at least we're OK. I know material things can be replaced but it's the memories, that's what hurts more and why somebody would be so vicious to do something like that. 

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