7/29/2014

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KATU Investigators

Fires set Hayden Island residents on edge

Fires set Hayden Island residents on edge

PORTLAND, Ore. – Fires have burned bushes and part of one home on Hayden Island over the past two weeks and arson is suspected.

It also appears that the suspected arsonist even set fire to a home with someone asleep inside.

Neighbors are taking action to protect their homes. Some are doing their own late-night patrols on the west end of Hayden Island.

On Tuesday, maintenance crews removed charred shrubs that were set on fire in the small space between two mobile homes. Someone poured a liquid on a huge tree nearby and set it on fire, too.

But one fire might have been set underneath a mobile home while its owner was asleep inside.

"All I heard was a big ruckus outside," said the owner who did not want to be identified. "And I stepped out on my deck and I said, "is everything OK?' And somebody yelled, 'Fire! Fire!'"

She said it wasn't until she was outside and saw what was going on that she started shaking.

"It was pretty scary," she said. "It was to the point now that I don't feel comfortable going back home."

Debbie Heckhausen, the homeowner association's vice president, counted at least eight fires. She's also done her own nighttime foot patrols. She lives just across the street from some of the homes hit in the string of fires.

The most recent fire was set early Monday morning. She worries the fire-setter will hurt or kill someone.

"It's frightening. It's absolutely frightening, you know?" she said. "And I don't know that's it's going to stop until the person's actually caught."

The fire under the one home did take a life – the homeowner's pet bird, a blue cockatiel. It was overcome by smoke from the fire and died.

If you have a story for our On Your Side Investigators, we want to hear from you. Send us an email at investigators@katu.com.

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