Friendly Fire

Dr. Razzle Dazzle knows how to turn flames into cash.

Dee Connors, who lives down the block from the Clarke House, also saw the two men. "The building had just caught fire," he says. "It wasn't that big yet, but already a cop car was there with two men on the ground."

Somehow, these suspects have vanished. There is no mention of them in the police report, and the latest from Kathy Collins, spokeswoman for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, is that there are no leads in the case. "No one is under arrest," she says. "They could have detained some men and then released them."

When Williams returned to the scene of the fire after dropping his wife off at work, he was told by police that they didn't know anything about the two men he had reported or the officer he had seen questioning them.

The Clarke House goes down.
Nolan Haan
The Clarke House goes down.

"The sergeant told me that they don't know who the officer was," Williams says. "I told him, 'If he let those two guys go, then he don't need to be on your force.' I know they started that fire."

But Fort Lauderdale police have backpedaled from their initial suspicions entirely. "The detective on the case says that they are not sure it is even an arson," Collins says.

Were the men Williams and Connors saw being interviewed by cops vagrants who had camped out in the building? Arsonists who had just done a job? Or maybe just a heat mirage?

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