Second unexplained fire in one week

Second unexplained fire in one week

The second suspicious fire in one week destroys another building in Mountain Pine, bringing the total to 15 unexplained fires in the last seven years.
MOUNTAIN PINE, AR - The second unexplained fire in one week destroys another empty building in Mountain Pine.

"I just can't describe my feelings right now," said Fire Chief Lester O'Dell. "It's not good."

"This community is scared to death," said neighbor, Samantha Boutzale.

This is the 15th suspicious fire to burn a vacant building to the ground in the small town over the past seven years. Just like the others, Chief O'Dell says Wednesday's fire started in the back corner of the building.

"When I arrived there were flames coming out the back of it," he said.

The building belonged to the fire department, itself, and destroyed at least $3,000 worth of equipment.

"Nothing that should have started the fire unless some form of spontaneous combustion- something may have been left here but i'm not aware of it."

"I'm feared for this town, I'm feared for the people, I love in this town," said Boutzale. "It scares me."

An unexplained fire last September killed two people.

"whose life is next?" asked Boutzale.

With no electricity connected to the building, the whole city suspects an arsonist is back.

"Somebody is deliberately setting these fires," said Boutzale. "Catch them!"

"Just to be frank, we do not expect to catch anyone," said Chief O'Dell.

All he can do at this point is determine if an accelerant was used because, again, just like the 14 previous unexplained fires, no one saw a thing before the building went up in smoke.

"You need an eyewitness or some other type of evidence to tie a particular person to the scene," said O'Dell. "And we don't find any of that here and we haven't found any of that at the other places."

The investigation into the cause of this fire starts Thursday morning.
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