The fire left the duplex uninhabitable, leaving several people without a home. Evansville police say Rodney Alan Cardwell, a resident in the complex, confessed to setting the building on fire. In doing so, a victim tells Eyewitness News he broke family ties that were already worn thin.
Tears and counted losses -- a holiday takes a devastating turn after a duplex fire leaves several Evansville residents homeless.
Matthew Priebe lived in the front apartment. "For something like this to happen -- completely devastating, I want to say -- that's like literally my home. And now have nothing," says Priebe.
Tonya Cardwell lived in the the back apartment -- where fire officials say the fire began. "I'm just left where I'm at. Where do you go from now? Where do you go? When you lose everything where do you go? Who do you ask? I have no family," says Cardwell.
Cardwell says one thought went through her head when she saw her home on fire. "Who did it? Who started the fire? And naturally happened to be... I'm assuming it could be my brother. I don't know."
Evansville Police Department says Cardwell is right. Her brother, Rodney Cardwell, confessed to setting the duplex on fire Monday afternoon. "He's tried to set me on fire here before when I've been asleep."
"We fight constantly cause he's an alcoholic," says Cardwell. "I mean the cops are out here constantly, everyday, for something with me and him."
But this time she says her brother destroyed everything she owned. Eyewitness News was with Cardwell when she discovered one of her five cats died in the fire. After being told her missing cat was dead, Cardwell went to the back of her home. She found a friend crying, grasping on to something bundled in a t-shirt. Her cat's lifeless body was inside.
Homeless and suffering the loss of fury friend, Cardwell says she's determined to get back on her feet. "Being strong about certain things when it comes to life. Take the bad for the good, the good for the bad, and go on. That's how I was taught."
Meanwhile, the brother who says he's responsible for the fire is behind bars. Rodney Cardwell is being housed in the Vanderburgh County jail on an arson charge.