A reward up to $10,000 is being offered for information regarding two arson cases.
Georgia Fire Investigators determined that fires from Friday, August 4 on East Peachtree Street, and Saturday, August 5 at 702 Short Street in Rossville, Georgia were intentionally set.
“We believe these incidents are connected,” said Jay Florence, Deputy Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner. “The homes are approximately two blocks apart, and a similar method was used to start the fire. Whoever is setting these fires should be considered dangerous.”
Property damage was estimated at $35,000 for the Peachtree Street home and $25,000 for the house on Short Street.
"She came running in and woke us up and we went out there and you could just smell everything immediately," McCoy said.
Kristin McCoy and her family live next door to one of the homes that caught fire. She believes she knows who's responsible.
"I understand it was abandoned, I understand it was a shelter, but at the same time if you don't live there you don't belong there, you have to go," she said.
McCoy said homeless people have lived there before, and just last week she called police to have them removed, but she said police let them stay.
"When they caught them they apparently patted them down for weapons, said 'okay they're clean, we're going to let them stay because the rain is coming and we don't want them outside in the rain," McCoy explained. We contacted Walker County and the City of Rossville to see if they were aware of people living there, they told Channel 3 they removed people from the home weeks before the fire and that they regularly patrol the area.
You may remember, last month five fires were intentionally set, all within a half mile of each other in Lafayette, which is also in Walker County. However, officials have not said if the arsons are connected to the ones that happened last month.
"It used to be such a great neighborhood, nice and quiet. it's just the past couple of months, I don't know if it's t rangers that just got bored or homeless people that got upset but it's not the way it was before,” McCoy said. State officials said whoever is setting these fires should be considered dangerous. It’s unsettling for neighbors who live next door. McCoy wants the city to do more.
"It does concern me, just the fact that I was involved in something a couple of weeks ago, my ears are always going to be perked up now, the hairs on my neck are always going to stand up just because I don't know what's going on,” she said.
Florence is asking anyone with information about these fires to call the Georgia Arson Hotline at 1-800-282-5804.
Rewards of up to $10,000 are given for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the fire. Calls are answered 24 hours a day; callers can choose to remain anonymous.
First-degree arson is a felony with a penalty of one to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.