Rash of fires under investigation
by Elane Jones
Oct 12, 2012 | 2593 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Firefighters have responded to at least five structure fires in a neighborhood just outside of Jasper that are now under investigation by both state and local law enforcement authorities.

Members of Saragossa Volunteer Fire & Rescue were dispatched to two separate calls early Thursday morning regarding three structure fires near the intersection of Holly Grove Road and South Skyline Drive. The structures were all abandoned at the time of the fires and no injuries were reported.

Saragossa Fire Lt. Mark Pendley said the first call came in around 12:30 a.m. Thursday and the second call came in a few hours later.

“When we arrived on the scene of the first call, the structure was pretty well involved so we contacted 911 and asked for mutual aid from Jasper Fire, and they were dispatched to our location,” Pendley said. “After putting out that fire, we all returned to our station and were headed our separate ways when 911 paged Saragossa out again to another structure fire in the same area.”

Pendley said the first fire destroyed an old house, the second fire destroyed a mobile home and the third fire destroyed a large metal building that appeared to have been some type of barn or chicken house.

“As we were mopping up from the second call we noticed some smoke coming from behind the mobile home we had just put out. When we went to investigate, we discovered a third structure that was also burning,” Pendley said. “All three of these structure were abandoned and had no power to them, so we notified the Walker County Sheriff’s Office and they sent a deputy out to take a report. We’ve also worked two other fires in that same area about two weeks ago that are now under investigated by the Sheriff’s Office and the Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office.”

Investigators with the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office in Montgomery were on the scene of the three fires most of the day Thursday trying to determine a cause of these fires and to see if there is a connection between all five fires.

“We were already assisting the Walker County Sheriff’s Office with their investigation into the first two fires, so we are now trying to determine if these new fires are some how related,” Alabama Fire Marshal Edward Paulk said. “We don’t know the exact cause of the new fires just yet. But we do suspect there is criminal activity afoot there as well.”

Paulk said the Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office has also contacted the Alabama Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to assists in the investigation of the fires as well.

“If anyone has any information regarding any of these fires we are asking that they please call the Alabama Arson Hotline, or their local law enforcement agency,” Paulk said. “Or they can post the information on the Alabama Fire Marshal’s website at www.firemarshal.alabama. gov.”

The Alabama Arson Hotline number is 1-800-654-0775 and the number for the Walker County Sheriff’s Office is 205-302-6464.