Historic West Virginia Railroad Town Racked by Arson

June 1, 2009

Residents of Hinton, West Virginia, are being urged to be vigilant as arsonists have struck more than 20 times in the past 17 months.

Mayor Cleo Mathews says many of the historic railroad town’s 2,600 residents are tense, frustrated and afraid.

Assistant state Fire Marshal Scott Rodes says suspicious fires since December 2007 have damaged homes, a church parsonage and garage. Most occurred between 10 p.m. and 3 p.m. At least one person has been injured.

Rodes is urging city leaders to install more street lights and eliminate garbage piles that can fuel fires.

Mathews is encouraging residents to keep porch lights on and install motion detectors.

Rewards of up to $12,500 are being offered for information leading to a conviction.

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