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Hill Rise Drive arsonist may be caught, officials say

By: Elizabeth Dorsett Email
By: Elizabeth Dorsett Email

For weeks, people living along Hill Rise Drive off Versailles Road say they've been living in fear.  Nine suspicious fires since late December destroyed thousands In property and left at least two people homeless. Now, investigators are hopeful folks there can breathe a sigh of relief.

"We're definitely making some progress in that area and I think it speaks volumes for the cooperation through the people and fire personnel and everybody else that's been diligent about what's going on," explained Major Mark Blankenship with the Lexington Fire Department during the press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Less than  12 hours after residents packed the Preakness apartments Monday evening, hoping to help investigators with leads, firefighters say staff at Good Samaritan Hospital were calling them. They told investigators a man fitting the serial arsonist description showed up with a Hill Rise Drive address and suspicious burns. He told them there had been a fire at his place overnight.

"That fire was never called in to us, never reported to 911," Blankenship said.

After getting a search warrant for this man's unit, firefighters saw where the fire was set, making him a prime suspect.

"Right now just the one, that's the only credible info we've got."

Blankenship tells us this man was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear on a previous charge and hasn't been charged with arson.

Investigators are still working to gather evidence to pass on to the grand jury. Blankenship would not say whether the fire set in the man's apartment was consistent with the way other fires in the area were set.

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