At around 9:40 p.m. Monday, firefighters were called to a fire that damaged this abandoned home on Bobtown Road. That fire has been ruled arson. (Photo: WBOC)
ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va.- Virginia State Police have determined that two structure fires that occurred Monday night in Accomack County were deliberately set. This brings to 27 the total number of arsons actively under investigation in the county.
Police said Monday's fires happened within just a couple hours of each other. The first call came in at around 7:37 p.m. for a fire on Guilford Road in Bloxom. Then at around 9:40 p.m., firefighters were called to another fire at a home on Bobtown Road in Melfa. Both structures were abandoned and there were no reported injuries, according to investigators.
Prior to Monday evening's fires, police had been investigating 25 arsons that have occurred in a three-week span throughout Accomack County.
On Guilford Road, neighbors told WBOC firefighters got to the scene so fast, a suspect was still in the area. But once again, the arsonist managed to get away.
"Ran down this ditch bank and when they got to where the fire was supposed to be, he took off in the woods," explained Greg Huffman, who said the thought of the arsonist getting so close to his mother's home is unsettling.
"They went on Parksley Road and investigated the house down there because they thought he was in the woods behind that house but they never caught him," Huffman noted.
His mother, Katie Huffman, said she feels for the volunteer firefighters pulling long hours in pursuit of the criminal terrorizing her neighborhood.
"They have to get up and go to work the next morning and you know, do their job and up half of the night doing this," she remarked. "It's very hard on them."
Neighbor Michael Scott thinks whoever is doing this is just looking for attention, and may not be acting alone.
"There could be copycats, because there's, for 27 houses to catch on fire, you know, in this short bit of time, it could be a copycat," Scott said. "You know, one minute you hear it up the road, the next minute you hear it down the road, you know."
As these arsons continue to fuel fears, police encourage locals to stay alert and keep an eye out.
According to Capt. Tim Reibel with Virginia State Police, "This individual is going to be coming and going at different hours of the night, may be acting differently in his or her behavior, and will probably show an unusual interest in media coverage of the fires and/or consistently steer conversations to talking about the fires."
Anything out of the ordinary should be reported to police immediately.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:37 PM EDT2013-06-19 01:37:33 GMT
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