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4th suspicious fire in one week

Two more suspicious fires burn in Mountain Pine making the total four in one week. Now, the Arkansas Forestry Commission is taking over the arson investigations.
MOUNTAIN PINE, AR - Flames still smolder less than 100 feet from the Mountain Pine apartment building where LaTonya McElroy raises her daughter.

"I thought I moved from the city to come to where it's supposed to be safe out here in the country, you know?" she said.

This is the fourth suspicious fire in one week in the small town, bringing the total number of mysterious fires to 17 in the past seven years.

"I'm scared, honestly," said volunteer firefighter Kevin Green on Monday, before the three most recent blazes. "We had a lot of fires back on 2005,2006,2007 and it goes through someone's mind - well, is it starting again?"

A fire destroyed a vacant home right across the street from the fire chief's house early Saturday morning.

Just a few days later, firefighters didn't have to go very far to put out another suspicious blaze at their storage facility.  It destroyed $3,000 worth of equipment right in the fire department's own backyard.

A fatal fire killed Tyler French and Ricky Clinton last September, leaving the entire city worried that an arsonist is back and, this time, burning more than just vacant buildings.

"Is it a joke or are you sick?  what is the problem?" asked McElroy. "I just wish he would stop.  He or she or whoever is doing it."

Because if it doesn't stop, these unexplained fires will soon drive citizens like McElroy far away from Mountain Pine.

The Arkansas Forestry Commission is investigating the suspicious fires and has already turned all evidence over to detectives for further examination.

Investigators say, however, even if they determine these fires were set by an arsonist, it's virtually impossible to catch anyone unless you see them doing it.

No arrests have ever been made following any of the previous arson investigations.

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