Arson is suspected in Middlesboro brush fires

By: Samantha Saracino Email
By: Samantha Saracino Email

Middlesboro city leaders want to find the person who is continuously setting brush on fire. Officials say the same person is coming to the old sewer treatment plant, which is owned by the city, and lighting brush on fire in different locations.

A fire has been set on this city-owned brush pile twice this week and officials say each time, once on Monday night and once on Wednesday night, the fire was started in a different location.

"Because of different points of origin out there for where it could have started, we have some strong suspicions that it is suspicious in nature," said Captain Richard Taylor from the Middlesboro Fire Department.

"They have lit it. We have put it out twice and they have come back and relit. They're lighting in different in areas. It's something of concern to us," said Bill Kelley, the Middlesboro Mayor.

It is also a concern for the business and home owners nearby. Some of the people who work at the local businesses near the fire say when the fire was happening, the entire parking lot was full of smoke.

"The Walmart parking lot, this parking lot, you could barely see the vehicles sitting in it. It was like a real heavy fog but it was smoke," said Chris Tolliver, who works at Radio Shack.

As of now, the fire has been put out and officials say the wet conditions should help keep it that way.

"This rain will help tremendously. We're thankful for the rain that has come in. We've used an intense amount of water out there," Taylor explained.

Being that it is fire season, officials say the warmer weather and high winds make it harder to contain fires, especially brush fires. Mayor Kelley says the city is working on a plan to have the brush pile moved.

A one thousand dollar reward is being offered for any information that leads to the arrest of this arsonist. If you have any information, contact the Middlesboro Police Department.

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