A Sikh east-end family is living in fear following weeks of torment from strangers who appeared at their front door demanding money, and have tried twice to fire bomb their home.
The second attempt to burn the Dadiala family home early Thursday came just six days after someone used the same method — Molotov cocktails — to torch the house of another member of the same Sikh community.
Rupander Dadiala, who lives on Casablanca Street with her husband, three young children and in-laws, said the family hasn’t slept in weeks.
“It’s very scary,” she said. “I have three kids, I have three little ones. We are all scared, for sure. It’s not a nice experience. We don’t know what to do. We are calling police every time we have any problem. So far nobody has been caught. They just disappear.”
Police and firefighters were called to Dadalia’s home, in the 7900 block of Casablanca, around 12:15 a.m. Thursday. The Windsor police arson unit is investigating.
“Preliminary indicators suggest some type of accelerant was thrown into a garage door,” said Windsor police spokesman Sgt. Matthew D’Asti. “It self-extinguished, so there is minimal damage. But obviously we are treating it as a major incident. We know the potential of what could have happened.”
The Windsor police arson unit refused to comment further on the case later in the day.
Dadiala said the troubles began about three weeks ago when two people showed up at the front door demanding money. Dadiala said she has no idea why her family is being targeted or who is doing it.
They installed cameras around the house after the harassment started, but so far they haven’t recorded any video that could help identify the culprits.
“I will say since the last three weeks somebody is trying to bother us,” said Dadiala. “The first day when they came, they asked for $500. They were trying to come inside the house, so my father-in-law and mother-in-law pushed the door hard to close the door.”
She said one of the people wedged his foot in the door to stop it from closing. Her father-in-law had to slam the door on the man’s foot to get him to relent.
That same day, said Dadiala, the people came back around midnight and pounded on the door before leaving. They did the same the following the night, she said.
She said they followed that up last week by throwing a Molotov cocktail against the side door of the garage. The fire bomb scorched the door but didn’t cause any other damage. They tried again early Thursday. Dadiala said it looks like they were actually trying to burn the family’s minivan.
“They actually attacked the side of the car and those things bounced back on the garage door,” said Dadiala.
She said that based on the damage it appears the culprits threw the fire bombs at the family vehicles, but the bottles bounced off and exploded against the door of the garage, which is attached to the house. The fire burned out before igniting the house, but left melted plastic and black charring across the white door.
There was still some police tape up Thursday afternoon, and shattered beer bottles littered the driveway. The side door was also still charred from last week’s attempt to burn the building.
Dadiala said she knows Harvinder Bal, who experienced something eerily similar but far more dangerous last weekend.
Bal was awakened around 1 a.m. Saturday by the sounds of shattering glass and a fire alarm. He ran to his living room to find a shattered bottle and flames consuming his Spago Crescent home. Bal escaped with this family, but the fire caused $275,000 in damage.
Windsor police are calling it arson. Bal told The Star following the fire he believes he was targeted.
The day before the house fire, Bal’s wife went to put their four-year-old son in the family minivan and realized someone had torched the interior.
“I don’t know who did it,” Bal said earlier this week. “I have no bad record. I have nice neighbours.”
Police haven’t said if they believe the two cases are connected.
Anyone with information about the arsons can call Windsor police at 519-255-6700 ext. 4330 or Crime Stoppers at 519-258-8477 (TIPS). You can also leave tips online at www.catchcrooks.com or on the Windsor police Facebook page.