Was just the victim of an arson...


Jeff White
February 2, 2003, 02:43 AM
Last year I bought a new home. I kept the old one, it was paid for and in a prime location next to a state park. It also has my range on the property. My plan was to remodel it and rent it out as aweekend cabin to people visiting the park.

Tonight I had just finished a post in the Legal and Political forum and the phone rang. The fire department had been dispatched to the vacant house. I rushed over to find the house fully involved. The electricity and gas had been turned off, the pipes had been trained for the winter.

I was met by a State Trooper who is a good friend of mine, he used to be a telecommunicator on my PD before he became a trooper. He told me that the firemen had heard popping and cook offs, and asked "what kind of ordnance was in the house?" I guess I shouldn't be, but I was offended and still am. I have known this guy for 20 years and because I'm a shooter it was suspected there was "ordnance" in the house.

The house was a total loss and it looks a lot like arson to me and everyone else at the scene. Of course the Fire Marshal's investigator won't be down until Monday or Tuesday to look at the scene. In the mean time it hasn't been secured as a crime scene. It sits at the end of a dead end drive way about 7 miles from the nearest town. Our sheriff's department is so understaffed I doubt there will be much of an investigation even if my suspicions are confirmed. Looks like they will have to lay off two deputies by April anyway because the county is in such poor financial position. There was very little of value in the house, but it's the point of it..and getting asked about "ordnance" like I was a signature to SALT II or something, by a friend and fellow officer was just the icing on the cake.


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Kahr carrier
February 2, 2003, 02:55 AM
Man that sucks Arson ,and then insulting you by asking a stupid question, I hope it was insured.:(

February 2, 2003, 08:26 AM
Sorry to here about your loss. Glad you and your family still have a home to live in. I also hope it was insured. I also think that asking what kind of ordinance was in the house was a valid question. The Trooper was a friend of yours and knows you have firearms. I would also assume that he new your range was there. Might have thought you stored some ammo or weapons there also. He was only doing his best to try to make everyone safe as possible.

Art Eatman
February 2, 2003, 09:37 AM
Some people use the word "ordnance" to cover any sort of firearms and any ammo. He probably wasn't using it in the sense of heavy artillery.

He might have been wondering what might have been stolen; arson is often used as a coverup after burglaries.


February 2, 2003, 09:45 AM
Dang, Jeff, that sucks. :(

Jeff White
February 2, 2003, 11:23 AM
I guess you guys are right. I shouldn't have been offended. But at the time, it just hit me that Kevin (the trooper) should have known me well enough to know I wouldn't have stored ammunition in a vacant house. Thinking back, I've been exactly where he was at in having to ask victims questions they may have felt were in approriate. Guess it's pretty different from the other side of the badge.

I did lose about 10 to 15 years worth of American Riflemen, Soldier of Fortune and several other firearms magazines that were stored there while I finished the den/library in the new house.


February 2, 2003, 11:26 AM

Very sorry to hear about your loss. I hope that you had insurance and that you'll be able to make a full claim for the damages incurred.

Try not to be too offended by the officer asking about ordinance in the house. It sounds like natural curiousity and concern to me, but considering all the stress you were under it's easy to misinterpret the intentions of others.

February 2, 2003, 11:29 AM
Stored ammunition? Of course not!

(But if you're like me, you could remove every box, baggie, crate, can, and loaded magazine from the house, and still wind up surprised at the number of miscellaneous rounds along baseboards, under furniture and in pockets of old clothes... ;) )

February 2, 2003, 11:34 AM
Sorry to hear about your loss. I hope things work out for you.

Bob Locke
February 2, 2003, 11:45 AM
That really stinks, man.

Any chance of your insurance coughing up the money to replace those magazines if the publishers still have back issues available?

February 2, 2003, 11:47 AM
Sad indeed.

I remember a fellow trooper in Kansas telling me that 100 rounds loose in his trunk was normal.

February 2, 2003, 11:53 AM
Sorry to hear this. Glad you cooled down and realize Kevin was just doing his job. I had a neighbor who when asked what he had in house during home fire remarked he had some week killer in basement. They called all the firemen back until they got the OK. Lucky he had a empty can in outbuilding so they could call/check that no danger if burned. They did save most of the house.. Which of course wound up being a mistake as it would have cost him $15k more for a NEW HOUSE with everything set up. He got the important stuff out so now he feels bad he hurried to get them back fighting fire.

Mike Irwin
February 2, 2003, 03:38 PM
I hate to mention this to you, Jeff, but be prepared for some questions/looks into your background and financial state from both police and your insurance company.

Pretty much a fact of life when a second property burns like this.

As far as the American Riflemen go, if you're interested, I've got years of back issues. You're more than welcome to them as I unearth them. It will only cost you shipping.

February 2, 2003, 05:30 PM
Not good Jeff. I hope the investigation turns up a perp. Good Luck.

February 2, 2003, 05:51 PM
Thinking back, I've been exactly where he was at in having to ask victims questions they may have felt were in approriate. Guess it's pretty different from the other side of the badge.


Good that you feel that way.

I speak as a victim of multiple car thefts, and the questions are always the same:

"Was it locked?"

"Are you sure?"

"Were the keys in it?"

"Are you sure?"

"Did you have insurance?"

Safety First
February 2, 2003, 06:13 PM
I hope you had a good insurance policy,at least you could re-build.

February 3, 2003, 08:29 AM
That totally sucks! if it is arson, that is just like me getting robbed, a total violation..

I hope you catch the guy!!! Use the vegetable peeler on him when you catch him!!

Oleg Volk
February 3, 2003, 09:41 AM
Hope this works out with minimal losses for you.

February 3, 2003, 12:07 PM
Jeff, I didn't mean to imply you deserved this, if that's what it sounded like. I know exactly the anger and powerlessness you feel right now. What I meant was, now that you know that feeling, you'll understand if a victim you're dealing with feels insulted, and you'll know that "I'm required to ask these questions" is no consolation.

Jeff White
February 3, 2003, 01:22 PM

Don't worry I never took things that way. Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts.


I received a voice mail message from the Fire Marshal's investigator yesterday. Said he'd try to get back with me. Haven't heard anything more. In the meantime the crime scene is just sitting there unsecured. Unfortunately I don't have the resources to sit there myself. It's raining today so some tire track prints I found the night of the fire are being ruined. As soon as I get the fire marshal's confirmation of arson, I'm going to call a State Police investigator I know.

My big goal now is to put the person who did it in prison.


February 3, 2003, 01:29 PM
I'm very sorry to hear about the fire, Jeff. I am glad that it was "just" the vacant house and no one was injured (though it would have been nice if the arsonist accidentally torched himself).

Arson, burglary..... makes a homeowner feel absolutely violated. :mad:

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