North GA investigators look for arsonists in two recent fires
CATOOSA CO./WALKER CO. (WRCB) - Georgia fire investigators are asking for the public's help solving two separate arsons this week in North Georgia. They're offering up to a $10,000 reward on each case if you can help catch the people responsible.
Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens says it's clear both fires were intentionally set, but they don't have any evidence that connects the two. Now they're hoping the public can help them catch the culprits and bring justice to these North Georgia homeowners.
"I hate for anybody to lose their home I really do. It's just sad," Wanda Hickey said.
Wanda Hickey lives on Houston Valley Road in Ringgold, where she saw her neighbor's home burn to the ground just before 10 p.m. Monday night.
"Wonder if he's in that house and can't get out or something I didn't know," Hickey said.
She's thankful her neighbor wasn't home, but is saddened there's nothing but a pile of burnt wood and melted furniture left. And, investigators say it's all thanks to an arsonist.
"Nobody deserves that," Hickey said.
State fire investigators estimate around $100,000 in damage at the Catoosa County home that used to stand two stories tall.
Over in Walker County, a home went up in flames just before 6 p.m. Monday on Old Trion Highway. No one was there at the time, but the homeowner doesn't have fire insurance and now faces damages totaling around $20,000.
"Had fire on the outside of the porch and had extended somewhat into the attic space," Walker County Fire Chief Randy Camp said.
State investigators have ruled that one an arson too, but don't believe they the two are connected. They're offering up to $10,000 rewards in both cases.
"Arson is very tough to prove. it's real easy sometimes on fire calls and determinations, but the actual element of someone has to really see someone light it off because you always have reasonable doubt," Chief Camp said.
They're hoping people recognize the homes, and it jogs their memory to some detail that could be just what they need to find the people responsible for setting them on fire.
"Some people may not know that they really know something. Maybe they saw a car there or somebody leaves the property but didn't think anything about it at the time because there was no fire," Chief Camp said.
If you think you may have a tip that could earn you a reward in either arson case, call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-282-5804. Calls are taken 24 hours a day. Your tip can be anonymous.