Refuge house catches fire twice - WNEM TV 5

Refuge house catches fire twice

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

A Mid-Michigan treatment facility has plans to use an old home to help victims of substance abuse and their children.

However, a fire at the home is delaying those plans and police believe it was intentionally set.

The house on 11th Street in Saginaw was nearly ready for patients of the treatment facility to move in.

"We're giving them a fresh start right after they get out of treatment," said Shemika Mallisham, with the Saginaw Odyssey House.

The treatment facility bought the home to make it a place for women to turn to after they finish recovery.

"All we're trying to do is move women in with children that came from our treatment facility so they can have a brand new start," Mallisham said.

However, twice this summer the organization has faced two major setbacks. After damage from two fires, Mallisham thinks the house is being targeted by those who don't know its purpose.

"Frustrating, but it also saddens us because they're not hurting us. They're hurting the women and children that's waiting to move in here," Mallisham said.

She said the house was set on fire twice as it was ready for the women to move in.

Mallisham is asking anyone with information on the fires to come forward. She vows not to give up on turning the home into a refuge for women to get back on their feet.

"Because it's not for us. It's for the women and children," she said.

Investigators ruled the first fire an arson, but the second fire is being called suspicious until lab results come back.

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