ST. PETERS, Mo. – Surveillance video from a home on Summergate Parkway in St. Peters shows a man walking up a house across the street around 10:15 p.m. on April 23. About 15 minutes later, the camera catches the man set fire to the home.
Central County Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Steven Brown said you can see two flashes and then the man quickly leaves the house, scaling a six-foot privacy fence to get to his vehicle. Brown said neighbors noticed the fire around 1 a.m.
St. Charles County police officers were the first on the scene. Brown said they were able to determine that the house was vacant. It had a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard and no one was home.
Brown said if the police had not been able to tell them that the house was vacant, firefighters would have gone in for a search and rescue, which would have been deadly because the entire floor was caving into the basement.
Brown said this case is unusual for the community. Most of the arson they deal with is vandalism of a portable toilet or playground equipment. He said the motive for residential arson is either profit or revenge but they aren’t quite sure which fits here.
Police and firefighters think the person who did this has talked. They are also asking people to think back to April, maybe they saw someone in the neighborhood or know someone who didn’t smell right that night.
Similar to CrimeStoppers, fire districts offer rewards for tips on arsonists. Up to $5,000 is being offered for a tip that leads to an arrest in this case. Tips can be anonymous. The number to contact authorities with information is 1-800-39-ARSON.