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Family Feels Threatened After Neighbors Blame Them For Fire That Burned Half Of Town

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COLLINSVILLE (CBS13) — After nearly half of a town burned down, a family says some are accusing them of setting the July 4 fire.

Vincent Tackett says he doesn’t feel safe in his town anymore, and says he even fears for his family’s lives.

The fire burned eight homes in Collinsville, a small community of nearly two-dozen homes next to the Sacramento River Delta.

The fire chief says the damage is estimated at $2.5 million. While investigators don’t know how it started, they do know it started in the family’s backyard.

Tackett and his family say that’s enough for some neighbors to accused them of starting the fire.

“All the neighbors are saying you know we burned it down,” Vincent said, breaking down in tears. “I mean why would we burn our own house down? It ain’t right to blame somebody like us.”

In less than an hour on July 4, eight homes burned to the ground, wiping out nearly half of Collinsville.

“We lost everything,” Vincent said. “They’re just accusing us because everybody is saying it started in our backyard.”

The fire chief says the fire started several hundred feet away from the family’s home in their backyard, but he says there is no evidence the family set the fire.

“We ain’t going to burn nobody down especially our stuff,” Vincent said. “We didn’t have no insurance on it or nothing.”

He and his wife Stephanie say they wait every day for investigators to come back with a cause, hoping to clear their name.

Meanwhile, Stephanie says she’s afraid to go back to Collinsville or even to work after she says they found a neighbor with a gun on the property where their home once stood.

“He’s mad at us, he says we burned it,” she said. “I know the people are hurting but I want peace.”

For now, they are living on donations. After losing everything, including the cash in their home, the Tacketts say they know everyone is looking for answers, but insist they don’t have them.

“Just don’t accuse me we didn’t set the fire,” Vincent said. “Wait till the truth comes out and then you can accuse all you want. “Me and my family didn’t do it.”

The Tacketts just moved into their home three days before the fire. Their stay at the motel that’s paid for by the Red Cross is about to run out. They’ll hear from FEMA and other agencies if they can get more help on Tuesday.

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