Mansfield Arson Fire Count Grows To 46 As Search For Suspects Continues


UPDATED: Friday October 19, 2012 6:13 PM

Investigators have counted at least 46 arsons set since June in Mansfield.

They have destroyed homes, cars, and property in the middle of the night.

The problem has been plaguing Mansfield since mid June and the fire chief said it is getting worse.

“We have a pattern of 40-some fires now, related a lot by geography, the city's near south side (and) related by method. And we're concerned about why and how and who, especially,” said Fire Chief John Harsch.

James and Evern Lee were the most recent victims of the arsonist.

“I'm glad it's the shed, other than the house,” said victim James Lee.

They say they were fast asleep early Thursday morning, when they woke up to sights and sounds of the fire.

“I seen a big blaze in the back of the house,” added James Lee.

“It's scary for me. I haven't been able to sleep,” said Evern Lee.

They said buried within the pile of ash are irreplaceable items, which include pictures that can never be reproduced.

But, they still said they're blessed the fire never touched their house.

“It's scary because you don't know day-for-day, or night-for-night, whether it's going to be your house; or you're target or somebody trying to get into a gang, or trying to prove a point. You really don't know,” said James Lee.

But they're an exception.  Harsch said 40 of the 46 of the suspicious fires have been at vacant homes and he said the latest have been “a little more aggressive.”

The concern when a vacant homes catch fire is not only for the safety of neighbors nearby but also for the firefighters who enter the unstable homes. Recently, one recently collapsed on them causing minor injuries.

“Arson is a crime. It is not something that we take lightly,” said Harsch.

Harsch said investigators have been working tirelessly crunching data and searching for patterns to find the fire starter before they start another fire.

Harsch said the state fire marshal was also looking closely into the fires and said they're offering a $5,000 blue ribbon arson award for information leading to the arrest.

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PREVIOUS STORIES:

August 29 - Mansfield Officials Investigate More Suspicious Fires
July 25 - Fire Investigators Believe 10 Arsons Linked In South Mansfield

 

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