Suspicious fires now being investigated as arsons in Hopewell

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) – New information in a string of Hopewell house fires. Investigators say, there's evidence suggesting the fires were purposely set.

Steven Jones lives on North 15th Avenue in Hopewell. The vacant house next door to him is one of several in the area that has recently gone up in flames.

"We have kids and you know it's nerve-wracking. It could be our house. Like I said you never know," said Jones.

The four fires occurred on North 15th and 16th Avenues. All were set in the early morning hours - between one and three o'clock.

"It's a criminal act and that's what people should realize - it's a criminal act and if caught will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Hopewell Fire Chief John Tunstall.

In each case the house was either vacant or the residents weren't at home. Some worry the culprit will strike again.

"Anytime a person is doing a criminal act if they're not caught they'll continue to do that -- I don't think they'll stop on their own," said Tunstall.

80-year-old Paul Boyette worries someone will get hurt. Three of the fires have happened on his street.

"I think we got a crazy person running around here or either he's got a grudge against somebody," said Boyette.

Investigators say the crimes appear to be random and it's unclear if the fires are linked. The fires started back in April. The most recent one happened last week. For now, neighbors are hopeful whoever is responsible for the crimes is caught soon.

"It's bad you can't go to bed at night worrying about what's going to happen to your house," said Jones.

If you have any information on any of these fires you're asked to contact Crime Solvers at 541 2202.

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