OAK HALL, Va.- Virginia State Police responded to two more fires at vacant properties in Accomack County overnight Sunday, but have not yet confirmed whether arson is to blame.
Arson or not, locals said Monday the fear has been going on long enough. Residents are on edge. Firefighters are worn out. And some worry it may only be a matter of time before somebody gets hurt.
"Every time we turn around, they've got fires burning here," remarked Teresa Collins of Withams.
On Holland Road in Oak Hall, the smoke still billowed, and the debris still smoldered Monday. The place a family once called home, some 40 years ago, was reduced to smoking rubble overnight.
Collins owns property nearby and said when she heard the news of the fire late Sunday night, she panicked.
"Every time you hear there's a fire, you're wondering OK, is it one of our properties? Or is it my neighbors property? Or is it, maybe my neighbor's home that might not be home, where their house ain't as nice as some people's houses," Collins explained.
Collins, the mother of a volunteer firefighter, said she worries about his safety daily.
"Whoever's doing it is not thinking about the consequence of somebody actually taking, and going to the fire, like the firefighters, and being on these roads that are now wet roads. And it's supposed to rain I think every day this week, and it could take one of their lives trying to get here," she said.
Up the road, J. L. McMahan said the sheer number of empty homes in the area may be making it hard to catch whoever might be responsible for these fires.
"There are lots of those structures," he said. "Evidently, somebody don't like those structures and they're burning them, but there's a lot of good houses standing, too, that's vacant so, I wouldn't want my house burned. I've got an old house down here and I wouldn't want it burned. It's empty but you never know."
Besides Sunday night's fire in Oak Hall, police also responded to a blaze in Parksley.
Virginia State Police tell WBOC the investigation into both fires is ongoing.
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