Investigators think someone set fire to home with 86-year-old woman inside

Police investigate two arsons on same Tampa block
Posted at 5:56 PM, Jun 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-20 02:21:31-04

Tampa Police are searching for the person or persons responsible for setting a fire to a futon that quickly spread to a home along W. Palmetto St. early Monday morning.

An 86-year-old wheelchair bound woman and her caretaker escaped unharmed, but the fire destroyed much of the front of the home, causing some $40,000 worth of damages.

"I've never seen anything like that before," said Jose Torres, who lives in front of the home.

Delores Johnson says she's grateful to be alive after she'd gone to sleep in her bedroom, when her caretaker noticed the flames and wheeled her out in time

She says they'd set an old futon out in front of the home when they got a new one.

Investigators think someone set a fire to that futon which then spread to the home.

They're also looking for the suspect who set fire to a car just two houses down from Johnson's on Friday.

They don't yet know if both are connected.

Anyone with information about either crime is asked to contact the Fire Marshal's office at (813) 274-7000.

Tips that lead to an arrest could end up with an award of up to $2,500.