Arson blamed for fire
By Marc Dadigan staff writer
August 8, 2003

VERO BEACH ó It was a simple gesture by 2-year-old Justin Music that unwittingly saved his brother's life from an act of arson.

During a visit to his grandmother's Wednesday, Justin took off his shoes to show his desire to stay overnight, said his father, Jacob Music.

Thus, Justin and 15-month-old Zachary were safely asleep at grandma's when a raging fire destroyed their bedroom at their parents' home, completely disintegrating Zachary's crib, Music said.

"We lost everything," said Music, 28. "If it wasn't for my mother-in-law, I don't where we'd be right now."

About 10 p.m., Music and his wife, Marie, were at their single-story house at 3226 First St. when they heard a crash that sounded like a broken window, he said. At first fearing a burglar, the Musics went to the children's room to investigate.

"When I walked in to the room, that's when I saw them throw something. Maybe a bottle with rags, and it caught fire right under the crib," Music said.

As the fire started, the couple then fled the home, escaping without injuries.

Fire Investigator Capt. Robert Von Buelow confirmed Thursday the fire was a result of arson but had yet to make any arrests. Although he said he had collected physical evidence of the arson, he was not ready to release the exact cause of the fire.

For now, the house is too damaged to inhabit, Von Buelow said, as the fire severely damaged the bedroom, a bathroom and parts of a hallway before firefighters could extinguish the blaze. Other areas of the house suffered smoke and water damage, he added.

Music said the fire was likely the latest incident in a feud between the Musics and some Fort Pierce residents, who Music claimed have slashed his tires and tried to beat him up since he started renting the house in October.

The Musics have been the focus of this harassment since there was a disagreement over his deceased mother's estate in September, he said.

Von Buelow said the case was still under investigation, but that it seemed likely the arson was connected to the other incidents.

"(Music)'s been having problems with some other people, and it seems like common sense that this might be a continuation of that problem." Von Buelow said. "We're checking into verifying who these people are and if they were involved."

In the meantime, the Musics are staying with a relative, and receiving some aid from the American Red Cross, North Treasure Coast Chapter.

Music still admitted it was hard to count his blessings Thursday. Not only did the fire destroy their possessions but also many of the family's dreams tied to those possessions.

"We were going to move into grandma's home and sell our stuff to send me to trucking school (in Kentucky)," Music said. "They had a job for me up there, but now I don't know what's going to happen."

Marie Music, 27, was taking classes at Indian River Community College in criminal justice, an endeavor that also might have to be put on hold, she said.

"We're just trying to figure out what to do. Our personal possessions, they're really all gone," she said.