Investigators: Fire set to Youngstown couple’s home as they slept

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Youngstown couple is picking up the pieces after someone set fire to their north side home overnight while they were sleeping.

Investigators determined the fire that broke out just after midnight was arson.

“As soon as my wife turned off the lights, like, ten minutes, I started smelling smoke,” Mark said.

He said he tried going downstairs, only to see fire pouring out of his kitchen and across the first floor. The only way out was through the upstairs porch window.

Mark grabbed his wife, Jenni, and smashed the glass.

“Jenni was the first one that I pushed out, then I passed the little Boston Terrier and then I climbed out,” he said. “Then we were there, yelling and screaming.”

Neighbor Jessica Harrell heard their cries for help and called 911.

“I peeked through my window real fast and I looked and I saw my neighbors were standing out on top of their porch, and over there, the side of their house, was engulfed in flames,” she said.

When fire crews got there, smoke was pouring from the windows and the couple was standing on the roof.

Mark and Jenni were taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital to be checked out.

“I’m devastated now, actually looking at the aftermath,” Mark said.

He bought the house two years ago as his fixer-upper project. Months of hard work, love, care, and their life savings went down the drain.

“I feel bad for my daughter because this was going to be for her,” Mark said.

They said they can’t believe someone could be so cruel to them.

“This was no short circuit, this was no candle,” Mark said.

The couple lost everything in the fire and said they have no idea how to move on.

Jessica said they won’t have to face the destruction alone.

“Whatever he needs, and his wife, we’re just here for them because they would do the same for us.”

As for the person who set his house on fire, Mark said, “God don’t like ugly.”

“What goes around comes around. I’m trying to stay positive.”

You can help Mark and Jenni by donating to the American Red Cross, which has a disaster relief team working to get them back on their feet. For more information, call the local Red Cross at 330-392-2551.

Investigators are asking those with more information on the fire to give them a call at 330-782-0055.

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