Norwich police are now investigating if two arsons in the past three weeks might be connected, as they offered a $2,500 reward for information about the first case on July 3.
The most recent fire on Monday morning forced a family of eight to run from the flames in their home.
“When I saw the smoke I immediately got the kids out of the house,” Sky Partee of Norwich, said.
There were frightening moments for Partee, her husband, and her six kids as flames raced through their Norwich apartment around 5:30 a.m. Monday.
“I asked what was going on. She said the house was on fire. I said, ‘What, where the kids at?’” Lisa Davis, the kids’ grandmother, said.
Thankfully everyone in the building’s two apartments made it safely out onto Third Street.
From the outside, it’s hard to see the damage inside Partee’s apartment including all their destroyed belongings.
Now investigators say that someone intentionally started the fire, which Partee saw coming from the back patio door.
“It’s scary. It’s really scary because you’re in a house. Why would someone do it to us? We just moved here. I mean, I don’t have enemies or anything,” Partee said.
This comes exactly three weeks after police say someone purposefully started a fire several miles away on South Second Street.
“People live here. People could have been hurt. Luckily no one was hurt,” Lauren Gallimore of Norwich, said.
Now reward flyers are tacked to the boarded up commercial building, which also included two apartments.
“It’s kind of surprising to hear that people are lighting fires in the area. That it’s Norwich. Why would you do that?” Gallimore said.
Right now police say there is no direct evidence that connects the two fires – which took place around the same time in the morning.
But they are investigating the possibility of a link.
“I hope they find whoever did this, for real,” said Frances Williams, who lives in the apartment building that burned this Monday.
Partee and her family are staying in a hotel for now.
They’re not sure where they’re headed next.
Anyone with information about either fire is asked to call police.