Fire and Faith: The Fatal Fire, Rush to Judgment and Inspiring Resilience of the Steigler Family
Heat and smoke from the fire killed six-year-old Chrissy and both visiting grandparents and left the house in ruins. Bottles and cans containing gasoline found placed in doorways clearly indicated arson. Weeks later, Herb Steigler was arrested for murder and the attempted murder of the wife he rescued. A year later, he was convicted on purely circumstantial evidence and sentenced to hang.
Family and friends never stopped believing that Herb was innocent. Their theory of who set the fire wasn't investigated by the police, pressed in court, or probed by the press. Eventually released from prison, Herb and his family went on to live productive, joy-filled lives.
Fifty-some years later, there is still no hard evidence of who committed the arson, and no one has confessed.
Decades after his release from prison, and toward the end of his suffering with dementia, Herb would utter random, unfiltered things. One day he appeared distressed and exclaimed to Arlene, "They think I killed my family!"
Arlene held her breath, wondering what he might reveal. "Well, did you?"