Single dad and young daughter lose everything in arson house fire

- A single dad on Detroit's east side is forced to start over after a house fire.

Investigators say it was arson, and now a father and young daughter are left with nothing.

"I kept saying please let our stuff be good and it is gone," said Matthew Rittenberry. "I wasn't so lucky."

Matthew Rittenberry got the devastating call at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. His home on Kilbourne in Detroit was on fire and burning fast.

Luckily, Matthew was at work and his 8-year-old daughter was at school at the time - but when he rushed home he learned everything they owned including a couple thousand dollars’ worth of Christmas gifts, had gone up in flames.

Matthew broke the news to his daughter after bible class.

"Everything I had in the bank we spent to have a good Christmas this year," he said. "It was going to be good.

"She's like, 'Dad now what?' After Christmas shopping you know that's what makes it tough."

What's even tougher is this single dad didn't have home insurance. Living on the east side of Detroit, Matthew says it would have cost more than the house was worth.

On top of that, fire investigators told him this was no accident. Evidence of a Molotov cocktail was found in the front room - along with residue from an accelerant.

It's believed whoever did this, torched the wrong house.

"I don't think I was targeted specifically," he said. "It’s Detroit. Who knows who was supposed to be the target, but I got it."

Most everything inside is charred or melted beyond recognition, except for the waterlogged Christmas tree and a couple of presents.

A relative has started a GoFundMe account to help, but all this father wants now for Christmas is the person who did this, to be held responsible. CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

"I hope somebody gets caught for this," Matthew said.

Fire investigators told him they collected glass pieces of the Molotov cocktail and hope to get fingerprints from that. And if anyone has information about this arson - a $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-44-ARSON, 1-800-442-7766 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

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