Car fires spread to home of Long Island contractor; arson suspected

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N.J. Burkett has the details from Long Island.

An investigation is underway after a homeowner in Suffolk County woke up Thursday morning to find his home and several of his cars on fire.

Just before 5:25 a.m., two cars in a driveway and another parked on the street on Richmond Boulevard caught fire.

The homeowner, a local remodeling contractor, says he had no idea who would do this, or why.

"Do you have any enemies?," we asked the victim, Billy Laubenheimer. "Not that I know of," he said.

Laubenheimer has an enemy he didn't know he had. Someone who destroyed both his cars, the contractor's van he needs to make his living, and nearly destroyed his home, where he and his girlfriend were sleeping Thursday morning.

"We were shocked, we looked outside and the car was on fire, both cars were on fire, then the house was on fire, so we rushed as soon as possible to get dressed and out of the house," said Laubenheimer.

Both residents escaped without injury, but investigators suspected arson immediately.

There were two separate fires, one in the driveway, which spread to the house. And a second fire, started in a car on the street. All three vehicles belonged to the homeowner.

And investigators recovered plastic containers left at the scene.

"Arson cases present a clear and present danger to our communities. We're doing everything we can to investigate this matter," said Deputy Commissioner Timothy Sini of the Suffolk County Police.

The investigation will include a check of surveillance cameras at local gas stations in the search for the arsonist.

The fire left neighbors badly shaken, in a close-knit community where crime is uncommon.

"It was very scary, one of the scariest days of my life. But thank God, cars can be replaced, houses can be replaced and thank God my neighbors are okay," said neighbor Diane Bolson.

"I don't know why somebody would do this to somebody, doesn't make any sense. I don't know how people sleep at night," said Laubenheimer.

He said neither his homeowner's or auto insurance policies cover the loss of the vehicles.

There are no suspects and no known motives.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Suffolk County Police.

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