Arson investigators hunt for possible serial arsonist in Buechel


by Gene Kang

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 30 at 11:59 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Arson investigators are on a hunt after someone torched property at four Buechel homes.

A disabled woman is in University Hospital for breathing in too much smoke. She had to evacuate her house with her daughter.

Neighbors are upset and extra vigilant.

Workers cleaned up Ann O'Leary's house after it was targeted by an arsonist. It has caused fear in a once peaceful neighborhood.

"You really have no right to take away what people work hard for and I just hope they catch them," O’Leary said.

O'Leary and her elderly mother were sleeping in a back bedroom when firefighters say someone purposely set fire to their carport.

Kristian Watkins' husband happened to be awake at 5:00 a.m.

"He stepped outside before getting ready for work. He heard crackling and he looked over and he saw the fire. He's in a robe and barefoot banging on the door," Watkins said.

Buechel firefighters had it quickly under control while O'Leary and her disabled mother made it out.

Blocks away two more homes were targeted at the 3700 block of Rosemont Boulevard along with another at the 3700 block of Glenmeade.

Rick Harrison, the Buechel Fire Chief, said, "There's no electrical involved or heating appliances involved. Everything appears to be set on the outside."

The chief says there may be a serial arsonist on the loose. There have been a number of fires in the area set intentionally during the past year.

While arson investigators attempt to link the crimes, signs were posted on doors offering a $1,000 reward for tips to the Metro Arson Unit.

Neighbors say they're disturbed that someone would torch lawnmowers, ignite mattresses and leave piles of rubble in their backyard. 

"Who knows? It could have been really bad, lives could've been lost," neighbor, Walter Lee said.

There is a $1000 reward for any solid tips that lead to an arrest. Call the Metro Arson Unit at 1-800-27-ARSON.

O’Leary’s mother is in University Hospital and is expected to recover.

Neighbors hope the arsonist doesn’t come back overnight. They’re locking their doors and will look out for any suspicious behavior.