Friday, March 30, 2007

Eight Fires In 5 Days Blamed On Arsonist -

Local and state authorities are working to catch a fire bug believed to be responsible for as many as eight grass and woods fires in 5 days. All the fires have been intentionally set within a few miles of each other in the Blackmon’s Crossroads area. Johnston County Fire Marshal Harold Henrich said the fires started last Thursday, and there has been a fire every day except Sunday. Blackmon’s Crossroads firemen have been dispatched to 4 of the fires, but while responding to the area or putting out the first fire, have found the others. On Monday, firefighters were putting out a fire on Hockaday Road when they discovered another blaze had been extinguished by a concrete truck driver on Blackmon Road . Henrich said the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office and NC Forestry Service are assisting with the search for the arsonist. This is not the first time a fire bug has set fires in the rural area outside of Four Oaks. Between April and July 2004, five suspicious fires were set within a one mile radius, including two the same night. Three of the fires were set in hay fields, including one blaze on July 20, 2004 that burned 13 bales on hay on a farm owned by C.P. Thompson on Strickland’s Crossroads Road . According to statistics, most arsonists are white males under age 30, from low to middle class families, have a subnormal IQ, and are seen by their peers as a social misfit. Most arsonists have a criminal history. Arson is the nation’s fastest growing crime, according to a report from NC Wesleyan College.

PHOTO: Two Blackmon's Crossroads volunteer firemen spray water on a woods fire Monday on Hockaday Road. Eight fires in five days, all in the same area, are believed to have been intentionally set.


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