Local News

Johnston County has few answers on fires

Posted February 14, 2012

— Johnston County investigators are trying to determine if three fires over the weekend are related to a string of 35 unsolved fires in the county since 2008. In each case, authorities have determined the fires were intentionally set, but they have yet to identify a culprit or motive.

On Saturday, a fire destroyed logging equipment and a diesel fuel trailer in a wooded area on Guin Road outside of Four Oaks, authorities said. Deputies do not believe the fire was related to blazes early Sunday on North Carolina Highway 96 South.

The first fire on Sunday was just before 2:30 a.m. and destroyed a farm building and hay at 3845 NC 96 South. Another fire was reported an hour later at an abandoned home at 7233 NC 96 South. A grassy area near the home was also set ablaze.

Johnston County deputies they have not found any evidence linking the fires to a previous string of arson cases that ravaged the area.

Since 2009, Clayton reported nine fires, mostly in new houses or houses under construction. During that same time, there were more than 20 fires in barns and vacant houses in the southern part of Johnston County.

Clayton and Smithfield have been working with the State Bureau of Investigation. A $5,000 reward is being offered for any information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the person responsible for any or all of these fires.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Smithfield Police at 919-934-2121 or the department's confidential tip line at 919-989-8835.


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