'Suspicious' fire rips through three multi-family homes in Mount Vernon

(10/26/03) MOUNT VERNON - Three multi-family homes went up in flames Sunday morning, leaving several residents injured and at least a half-dozen families homeless. The three-alarm fire broke out on South First Avenue, just off East Sandford Boulevard just after 2:00 a.m. Investigators have already labeled it as arson.

Sources close to the investigation tell News 12 Westchester that the fire was an arson, a drug-related retaliation that police are now investigating. The flames were deep yellow in color. Investigators say that is indicative of a flammable liquid, and a petroleum-based solvent was probably used to start the fire.

Now, residents of the three homes are trying to salvage what they can, especially sentimental items like photos. Workers are boarding up what is left and awaiting word on what is repairable. On Monday, the workers will tell the residents which homes can become habitable again and which must be torn down.

Two residents were taken to the hospital from the fire. One was released, and the other is still at Mount Vernon Hospital. Four firefighters also suffered minor injuries fighting the blaze.

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