Reward for information on Middlesboro arson fires

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Investigators say it appears nine recent fires in Middlesboro were set on purpose. All of the fires happened at vacant homes.

Now a reward is being offered for information that leads to the suspects.

A burned shell is left of the house at the corner of 23rd and Rochester streets. It burned this past weekend.

Bobbie Warf lives across the street. She said, "Scared me to death. I'd hate to lose my home."

The house was empty at the time of the fire. Neighbors say no one has lived there for years. Investigators say it had no electricity hooked up and appears to be arson.

"I hope they don't come back because that's dangerous," Warf said.

Middlesboro Fire Chief Tim Wilder say the fire was the ninth arson fire in Middlesboro since June. All were vacant houses.

"I think there's too many empty houses getting burnt here for such a small town. Them being empty, no electricity, somebody needs to see what is going on," said Renee Warren who lives near the latest vacant fire.

Police and firefighters are investigating all of the fires. Right now there are no leads.

Investigators are asking for help to find out who is setting the homes on fire. A $1,000 reward is available for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

Meanwhile, some property owners like James C. Smith are concerned. Smith's rental homes are occupied but he is still worried for the future.

"I'm afraid if he does vacate it, they'll burn it down and the one next to it," Smith said.

Neighbors are now watching for anything suspicious around vacant houses.

Anyone with information on the fires can call the Middlesboro Fire Department at 606-242-2332 or the Middlesboro Police Department at 606-248-3636. You can also call the state's Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON.

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