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Fires Raise Red Flags for Pine Bluff Authorities

The Pine Bluff Fire Department is asking the public to be on alert and on the lookout after two fires in less than a week start to raise red flags.
On Friday, Carolyn Stover returned to what had been her home, bearing food for her now homeless felines.

"It's devastating. It's the most degrading thing someone could ever hope not to go through," she said.

According to Stover, she discovered broken windows, signs of what she said was an attempted break in on Wednesday afternoon. By that evening, her house was consumed by flames after 40 years on her corner.

"All I could think was, 'Oh my god, my house is burning to the ground,'" she said. "The flames were sky high. it was gone."

Stover's home had served as a daycare and a haven for piano-playing students for more than three decades. Now, many of those mementos are gone.

"Many children have gone up and down those stairs into my house," she said. "I've gotten a jillion calls. It's overwhelming."

Just half a mile away and only four days before, the abandoned Young's Dry Cleaner's Building was also incinerated. Pine Bluff Fire investigators are classifying both blazes as suspicious and not ruling out arson.

"Anytime you have fires that close together in location or time, you want to see if there's a connection," Pine Bluff Fire Chief Shaun Howell said.

"The hardest thing right now is I don't know why anyone would want to do that.," Stover said. "I didn't know I had any enemies."

"Those children who have walked up Stover's stairs, along with their families, are banding together in a chorus of support for her. The Fire Department is asking for that same support to put fires like this to an end. "

"The reporting of suspicious activity. That's what we're asking for," Howell said. "With all of us working together we can combat this problem -- it's an ongoing problem and we want to see it dealt with properly."

Stover's friends and former students are on the lookout to be sure she knows that while she lost her house, Stover still has a home.
 
Part of that effort includes a "Carolyn Stover Fire Fund" donation page online and on Facebook. If you'd like to contribute, click here. You can also drop off donations at Robinson's Funeral Home in Pine Bluff.
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