Police probe attempted arson in Hillcrest

Posted: Updated:

Ramapo police are searching for a man who allegedly attempted to set a Hillcrest home on fire Friday morning.

According to authorities, the suspect had poured gasoline underneath the outside stairs leading up to a second floor of a house at 57 West Hickory St.

Investigators say the woman living in the house with her two children and boyfriend went outside just after midnight. That is when, police say, she noticed a flickering light and spotted a man who was attempting to light a rope wick dipped in gasoline. The woman says the would-be arsonist then fled from the scene, running toward Brook Street.

"We brought out K-9," says Detective Lt. Brad Weidel. "[A] dog did a track from the rear of the path, [but] we lost the individual as he left the roadway."

Police inspected the back wooden stairwell of the house and discovered that it was drenched in gasoline.

"Had it been ignited, what I've been told by fire investigators, it would have been a pretty significant fire," Weidel says.

Neighbors were shocked to hear about the attempted arson in a typically quiet neighborhood. They hope the suspect doesn't make a second attempt to burn down the house.

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