Alleged program burns abandoned homes in the middle of the night

FOX Files
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VENICE, IL (KTVI)-- A family of six wakes up to feel the heat from a fire next door, then they found out it was no accident.

The fire department reportedly set the fire on purpose and a homeowner says she has hidden camera -proof.

The fire was set at an abandoned home on Abbott Street in Venice, Illinois. Laronda Mathis lives next door and captured video on her cell phone. She described it as waking up to `hell` as she woke her five kids and ran.

Almost every window she said cracked that night, pop, pop, like fireworks said 5-year-old Jayden.

A couple neighbors, who did not want to be identified, said they saw the fire department set the fire. They said it`s part of a regular plan to burn abandoned homes in the middle of the night.

Yet she says this dangerous pit remains and all her broken windows. She confronted Venice`s fire chief and recorded video on her cell phone.

She says Chief Thomas Brent told her that another firefighter was supposed to warn her.

She said he also promises on the recording to fix her windows, but the burn was Good Friday, more than a month ago.

FOX 2 went to the fire department to get a response. It appeared vacant. We found a volunteer firefighter in sleeping quarters who told me the chief was not available. He promised to tell the chief- we need answers.

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