EVESHAM, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A man from Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, has been charged with arson after allegedly setting two homes in Burlington County on fire.
The Santiago family said their home on Aspen Court in Evesham was set on fire on August 20.
It then spread to Lisely Mendez-Maldonado's house next door while her husband, and her children, ages 5 and 7, were sound asleep.
The Santiago's house has since been deemed a complete loss by fire officials, and seven people are now displaced
"It's not as bad as it could be," said Amanda Pappas, a neighbor. "We're still living here, so very grateful. We feel very lucky that we live where we do and very sad for our neighbors who are displaced."
"Unfortunately for the residents, young kids (are) displaced," said Cris Quinones, another neighbor. "They're getting ready to start school and they don't have a home or any belongings."
As Mendez-Maldonado searches for a new home and prepares for the school year as a principal in the Lumberton Township School District, Evesham police continue to investigate.
Police now believe Colin Deluca, 30, set that fire and started another blaze just down the road on Empress Street on August 21.
The homeowner in that incident was able to put out the flames.
Patrol officers say they found Deluca in the area early Wednesday morning, searched his car, and found evidence that allegedly linked him to the crimes.
"Based on items that we found in the car, they were extremely concerning. There were items in there that had the potential to cause additional fires," said Police Chief Walt Miller. "One of the other issues we found in there was that he was armed with a crossbow."
Miller said Deluca used to live in the Marlton Village community in Evesham.
Residents Action News spoke to don't know him, but they're thankful he's in custody.
"To me, it's very impressive to have found him that quickly before more started," said Quinones.
"It's terrifying," said Pappas. "It's really giving me some anxiety to sleep at night, but really glad he's been caught."
Miller said Deluca was charged with aggravated arson for the fire on Empress Street.
Deluca will also be charged for the Aspen Court fire in the coming days and may face additional charges such as criminal mischief, according to police.
As for Mendez-Maldonado, who lost everything, neighbors are collecting monetary donations for the family through this difficult time.
They're also looking for a permanent home in the Marlton or Medford area while they temporarily live in a hotel.