Tenn. Officials Probe 35 Suspected Arsons in Memphis Since January

March 27, 2007

Fire officials are investigating 35 suspected arsons of vacant homes in the city since January.

“It is possibly some gang involvement. Some of it may even be copy cats, people taking advantage of the times and what is happening right now in the city,” Fire Lt. Keith Staples told WREG-TV.

Neighbors in one south Memphis neighborhood where there was a recent arson said they often saw people loitering near the house and suspected drug activity.

“Sometimes I look over there at night and see somebody with a flash light. I say it’s somebody in that house over there,” neighbor Mary Sidney said.

Police and firefighters are combing local neighborhoods trying to track down suspects. There have not been any known deaths or injuries from the fires being investigated.

A vacant house was set ablaze Monday in the Binghampton neighborhood and authorities did not yet have any clues.

“It’s kinda scary, even though you have patrols. Police are here, the crooks are there, that’s what’s frustrating,” said resident Bill Nash.

People with information on the arsons were encouraged to call the city’s tip line at (901) 528-2274.

Information from WREG-TV, Memphis, http://www.wreg.com

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