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Police looking for suspected arsonist in deadly Southside Jacksonville house fire

6:42 PM, Jun 26, 2013   |    comments
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  • Fire began in 3600 block of Mimosa Drive around 11pm Tuesday
  • Police investigators and state fire marshall's office spent hours at fire scene Wednesday
  • Victim was Bob Levey, in his 80's who worked at channel 12 for 37 years before retiring in 1995.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Police are looking for a suspect they believed set a fire at a home that resulted in the death of an elderly man who worked 37 years at Channel 12.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department was notified of the Mimosa Street fire around 11 p.m. Tuesday night and responded quickly, and the police were not far behind.

"A witness said that they saw someone actually setting the fire. At that point JSO was called," said Sgt. T. K. Waters, a homicide detective with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The fire department found the home fully engulfed in flames. They discovered an elderly man inside. The man was taken to a rescue truck, but died at the scene.

Neighbor Joey Townsend said he spent all day Tuesday with his friend Bob Levey, gathering old furniture at a house down the street and gathering scrap metal. Townsend said he and Levey were like peas and carrots. Townsend was devastated, at a loss as to why this happened.

"He was just a nice guy, he helped everybody," said Townsend. "He would give you the shirt off his back. I ain't lyin' to you. He would do anything for you. Everybody loved him, every kid around here has a toy from him. He would go get stuff out of the garbage, clean it up and give it to the kids."

Neighbors often heard Levey speak of his career in television.

"He was the main person at 6 and 11 to run audio throughout the newscast," said Rex Wells, an engineer at First Coast News, WTLV-WJXX.  

Levey began working as an audio technician at channel 12 in 1958, just six months after the station went on the air. He worked at the station for 37 years, retiring in 1995.

Wells remembers him as always telling jokes.

"He never seemed to get upset about anything, always had a smile on his face. He would always talk to you. He'd come up and tell a joke or two and stuff like that, he was truly a nice person. He really loved to be around here."

Police did release a description of the suspect they got from witnesses. He was described as a Caucasian male, 5'6" to 5'7" tall, skinny, weighing approximately 120 pounds. He is believed to be in his late teens or early twenties. He was wearing shorts and carrying a black and white backpack.  If anyone has information about the case they are asked to call the sheriff's office or Crime Stoppers.

First Coast News

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