Friday night at 10:00 pm while Karen and I were watching TV, we heard multiple sirens and sounds from vehicles on our street. We live on in a normally very quiet area and it is not often that you hear much than regular cars passing by or maybe kids being loud but even that does not happen often.
I went outside to see what was going on and saw that heavy smoke was coming out from a house on the other side of our street, four houses down from our house. I went back inside and told Karen that our neighbors house had caught on fire, something that she hardly believed but came out with me to watch.
Soon we were gathered with our neighbors living closest to us watching the smoke continuing coming out heavily from the house on fire. Several firetrucks, as many as five was already on site together with multiple police cars and an ambulance.
While we were standing there watching, one of our neighbors living closer to the house came out and said that there were body bags laying in front of the house. It felt very bizarre and like I was watching a movie instead of reality, in my neighborhood. I told my neighbor that it was strange that someone was in bed already before 10:00 pm so that they did not wake up to a raging fire.
Later as we stood there, wondering if there was a risk that the fire could spread to our houses, we started talking if anyone knew the people living in this house. Nobody seemed to be familiar with the tenants, only one neighbor knew that “they were both college professors and had a sister living with them who had some mental issues”. I imagined an elderly couple who had an old sister and all of them asleep before 10:00 pm on a Friday night and I thought that it was very, very sad.
Somebody thought that they has seen the couple having a dog and Karen wanted to volunteer to take in the dog if it had survived until we could get it to the animal shelter next day. Police and Fire fighters did not want to talk to anyone of us and we assumed that that poor dog had also died in the fire.
It was difficult going to bed that night and I kept thinking about the drama that had played out so very close to our house and I felt very, very sorry for the people who had died in the fire.
We did not fall asleep until probably sometimes around 2:00 am that night and was abruptly waken again at 6:00 am with our dogs barking like crazy. I heard sirens and trucks driving down our street and went out to see what was happening. This time large flames were totally engulfing the house and it looked much worse than it had been the night before.
I was thinking that fires that rekindles are very common and I know that in Sweden there is some rule that the Fire Department cannot leave a site where there has been a fire until a certain amount of time has elapsed. I don’t know if Maumelle Fire Department stayed during the night but now all the firetrucks were back and a large tower truck was spraying water all over the building trying to get the fire under control.
We went out again to watch the horrible scene in front of us and made sure that the Fire Department had the fire under control before we went back in again. It was not until later that we learnt that this was not an elderly couple sleeping through an accident fire but a murder/suicide/arson case.
I watch a lot of Forensic files on TV and again I felt like this is not happening but this is like a TV show. At this moment, we still don’t know who was the murderer even if the many discussions on Facebook assumes that it was the male 41 year old UALR college Professor. But there were also his wife 28 and his sister 31 in the house together with two adorable border collies. All of them shot to death.
We soon learnt more about these neighbors which we don’t remember that we have ever seen from their Facebook accounts and it is a very tragic story. They got married as late as in 2013, she was an adopted child from Russia but came to live with her family in Missouri when she was only six years old. He was a college Professor at UALR and many of his students witnessed about how nice an funny this professor was.
Yesterday when I was driving to the store, I passed the burnt down house and saw the wife’s family from Missouri being here to possibly recover anything from the burnt down house.
We still don’t know who was the murderer even if the mothers Facebook post indicated that her daughter had been the victim of an awful crime. I don’t know if that is an indication of that the family has got to know more from the Police than the public or if that is a mothers instinct to handle an awful situation like this.
Sometimes I feel like I am living in a movie instead of the real life because a Swedish guy like me do not expect those horrors we watch on TV to happen in your own neighborhood.