Local News

Burglar Used Arson to Cover Tracks in Spring Lake, Investigators Say

Posted January 21, 1999

— Last week flames ripped through a Spring Lake apartment complex leaving eight families homeless. Friday, investigators determined that the fire was deliberately set to cover a burglar's tracks.

Dozens of residents nearly died in the fire. The flames spread so quickly they had just enough time to get out, leaving behind everything they owned.

Firefighters risked their lives battling the flames. All for a fire an arsonist set after breaking into and burglarizing one of the apartments.

Residents in the small community are outraged that someone could commit such a crime.

"They're sick for one thing," neighbor Christy Hartwick said. "It's obvious they weren't thinking about anybody else who lives in the building because a lot of people could have gotten hurt or killed."

"I'm glad it wasn't my neighbor," apartment resident Billy DeWalt said. "I've got a little girl so that kind of worried me."

Investigators will not say what accelerant was used to start the fire or what was stolen from the apartment.

"We used our arson dog to go in and the dog alerted on several places, but where those places are I'm not at liberty to say right now," says Sgt. Steve McLamb with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators have interviewed dozens of neighbors, but still do not have any suspects. They believe there is someone out there who knows who the arsonist is. They say a phone call from that person is what they need to crack the case.

Anyone information on the case is asked to call the arson task force at1-800-334-3000.


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