Fire Department Baffled By Arsons
Twenty-one arsons have occurred over the past year or so totaling $3 million or more in damage. It's all happening along Route Y with the most recent fire this past Sunday.
"Ya know, if a fire gets a 30-minute or an hour head start on ya before anybody sees it, why, there's not much you can do with it," said Larry Paynter, Rocky Mount Fire Protection District Chief.
That has been the problem since arsonists began torching structures at random. The problem is that authorities like Paynter do not know who is doing it and why.
"I can't fathom why they like to see fire. Some people, they like to see the trucks run, ya know, they like the excitement of it," he said.
Paynter's district brought the issue to the attention of the State Fire Marshal's Office after the first few fires. The folks there have no answers yet either.
"Arson is probably one of the most difficult crimes to solve that there is," said Fire Investigator Dave Owens.
In this case, officials say it's the first time they have dealt with arson like this. They fear it will continue.
"I've never experienced this amount of fires all in one string, especially in one fire protection district," said Owens
"It's a remote area. The chances of him being caught are slim because there are... ya know, there's nobody around," said Paynter.
Authorities report no injuries in any of the fires, but they worry that could happen if the suspect isn't caught soon. A $5,000 reward is available to anybody who leads to an arrest in these fires. They say anyone with information should contact the fire marshal's office.