Holocaust survivor loses home in Melbourne house fire

Man arrested for obstructing firefighters from putting out the fire, police say

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Police are investigating if a house belonging to an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor was intentionally set on fire by a man the woman let stay with her. 

Grace Foley said Alexia Street neighbors are getting results for Valerie Serodun while she's without a home.

Neighbors boarded up the broken windows and said her remaining valuables were removed from the condemned house and returned to her.

Right now, 33-year-old Hasan Vann is charged with trying to stop firefighters from putting out the fire on Sept. 3.

Police said the fire started in the room Vann was staying in. 

"When the fire department gets on scene, they are hindered in their efforts to put the fire out by a gentleman who was on scene who was blocking the access to the hydrant, trying to stand on hose lines and physically touched and pushed some of the firefighters," Cmdr. Marc Claycomb said.

Police wonder why anyone would obstruct firefighters from putting out a fire.

Claycomb said Vann was staying with Serodun to possibly do handy work.

Neighbors said her roof has been an issue for her since Hurricane Irma.

Police and neighbors suspect Vann may have taken advantage of the 80-year-old.

"She was very nice, but also I think very trusting of the wrong people," Foley said.

Other neighbors said Serodun is currently staying at Circles of Care in Melbourne.

Anyone who wants to help her is asked to bring gift cards that can be used on necessities to the Cheers 2 U bar on Sarno Road.

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