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Suspected Arsonist on the Loose

By Ben Rainwater
By brainwater@wbbjtv.com

GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. - A fire in the 700 block of Trezevant Highway in Bradford is the latest in a string of suspicious fires.

"They could take somebody's life," said Tarnika Jackson.

Crews have responded to five fires since last Friday. Three were in Martin, in Weakley County. Two were in Gibson County - one in Milan and the most recent in Bradford.

Fire investigators say there are too many similarities for it to be a coincidence. "I would feel safe to say there is a fire bug running loose," said Gibson County Fire Chief Bryan Cathey. "With all these fires that are under investigation. No electricity, no cause for them other than arson."

Even though the houses have been empty and no one has been hurt, it still creates and alarming situation for the fire fighters. "These fires are extremely dangerous. We have to fight them like somebody is in them. It's really a bad situation," said Cathey.

Residents fear it is only a matter of time until somebody actually gets hurt. "There's too many small kids running around here and like to play and everything," said Jackson. "They wouldn't know what to do. They'd probably try to go over there just because of someone else's stupidity and that's not right."

For now, it becomes a waiting game until the person responsible is caught. Firefighters just hope the situation does not escalate any further.

If you have information on any of these fires, call the Tennessee Arsonist Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. A reward of more than $1000 is being offered.
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