A serial arsonist has authorities in Virginia on their toes by setting ablaze 38 structures in 45 days. Thirty six fires had been caused by the week before Christmas, when the Virginia State Police held a news conference and asked for help of the public to spot the arsonist. Since then, there have been two more blazes with the latest one happening on Sunday. The arsonist is targeting derelict or abandoned structures and no one has been hurt until now. But, according to the police, the person is getting ambitious.
Virginia State Police Area 31 Commander, 1st Sgt. Jean-Paul N. Koushel told the press, “We’ve never had an arsonist destroy so many structures in such a short period of time … The arsonist is creating a climate of rear within our community.”
The police believe that the arsonist is a resident of Accomack County, but there may also be copycats involved. Addressing such acts, Koushel said, “Copycat crimes will not be tolerated and will be investigated and we will be separating which ones were committed by the serial arsonists and which ones have not.”
Admitting that the random arsons are putting a toll on the resources of the firemen, Koushel said, “It’s been very difficult for our firemen, they are working more fires than a Detroit fireman would work. It’s a tremendous amount of fires.”
Investigators think that the arsonist may be well acquainted with fire department rules and regulations as all the fires have been caused at structures during a time when firefighters were available and in abandoned structures, so firefighters have not been hurt in the line of duty.
The police are also not ruling out the possibility that the arsonist may have been a voluntary firefighter. Currently the police are offering an award of up to $5,000 for information that may lead to arrest of the individual causing the fires.