Arsonist strikes twice in Upper Darby

One of the younger victims of the Upper Darby arsonist.

February 21, 2011 3:51:17 PM PST
Two families in Upper Darby have had to go through a frightening ordeal twice and police are trying to track down whoever is responsible before anyone gets hurt.

Luis Ibara and his young family told their story to Action News in the doorway of the 2-unit apartment building where they just moved recently. They are scared now to sleep at night after surviving two arson attacks on their front doorway in a week.

The first occurred last Monday at 3:40 a.m. and the second happened around 2:00 a.m. this morning.

Each time, gasoline was spread at the door and matches were used to ignite the blaze.

In both instances, Ibara's wife Gloribelle smelled gas. Then Ibara ran to the door to see the fires and douse both with water before firefighters arrived.

"I got little kids, sometimes I go out, my wife stays here with the kids," Ibara said.

"I can't sleep, [my daughter] cries," Gloribelle Santiago said.

Police say both families living in the building have no background that should make them a target for such potentially deadly violence. There have been no threats. It's an ethnically diverse neighborhood.

The landlord is said to be an upstanding local businessman.

So why is this recently renovated building a target? Police have no clue.

"Our concern is that some idiot, some moron, is trying to burn this house down and there're 9 people that live on the two floors," Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

So the suspect, whoever he is, is not only wanted now for arson, but for attempted murder, as well.

The upstairs neighbors, who hail from Sierra Leone in West Africa, are equally afraid. They pray the firebug is captured before he strikes again.

"I don't want him doing this to anybody else, there's 3 babies and I got one upstairs, come on, no one should be doing that," victim Isaac Kamara said.

While they have no suspects yet, Chitwood has his own profile of the arsonist.

"You got to be a real moron to try to be doing something like this," Chitwood said.