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NEW INFO: Owner Speaks Out About Faith Home Set On Fire

Eight people are now homeless after a fire at a transitional home shortly before noon Thursday displacing the men who lived there who are trying to transition back into society after being in jail or having substance abuse history.

Investigators say the fire was set intentionally, and the owner wonders: why?

"I'm thinking that somebody that maybe I have helped may have started the fire. I'm not certain, but this is what it seems like and that's the hurtful thing," said owner Bishop Arizona Hartsfield

The Faith Home was Hartsfield's idea after having a rocky childhood.

"I was homeless when I was three years old because my mother died when I was young so I went from one uncle and aunt to another so i know the feeling of really being homeless because i have experienced it myself," said Hartsfield.

Now the retired school teacher of thirty years finds himself homeless once again.

Anthony Oxendine has lived at the Faith House just one week. He was shocked when he came home after work.

"My room was one of the rooms that caught on fire that got sprayed with water so everything we got -our TV and VCR , pictures- that's our livelihood. It's burnt up," said Oxendine.

None of the men were home at the time of the fire, so they are happy to be safe and that the Faith Home pet dog, Hercules, was rescued.

"I was talking to one of the occupants and he said we have a dog in the front left room, and I said: you do? We will send somebody in, and he said the door is locked. So we used an outside door and pried it open and Hercules came running out a cheerful dog and the room was smoky so he was happy to get out," said Fire Captain Wayne Harris.

Bishop Hartsfield says a fire won't stop him from helping those who are trying to get back on their feet. Some of the residents were placed in another home owned by Bishop Hartsfield and some of the men were helped by the Red Cross.

Hartsfiled says now he will try to gather help from the community to repair all the damage caused by the blaze and reopen Faith Home as soon as possible.

PREVIOUS STORY:
A fire this morning that caused extensive damage to a transitional home has been ruled as intentionally set.

Fire broke out just after 11 a.m. at Faith House, at the corner Dickinson Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. Smoke was coming out of the attic windows of the three story Victorian home.

No one was hurt at the Christian-based transitional home, as the bishop and seven men who lived there had already left to perform various activities for the day.

Battalion Chief Shannon Terry tells WITN that investigators found two points of origin for the fire and that Greenville police are now handling the case. The fire began in a first floor back bedroom.

The home is for substance abuse or formerly incarcerated men who are transitioning back into society. There is a second home next door that was not damage and some of those displaced by today's fire will be relocated there.


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