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Arson fires at vacant Smithfield houses linked

Posted October 7, 2010

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— Smithfield police suspect that recent arson fires at three vacant houses are connected.

The fires occurred between Aug. 25 and Sept. 25 at 609 and 1011 Vermont St. and 506 Rosewood Drive. The houses are all been vacant and listed for sale, police said.

"It appears these fires are being started in the early morning hours," Lt. R.K. Powell said. "These fires have the similarities in their origin and are located in the same general area."

Powell said that it was too early to speculate on a suspect or motive.

Police have said that said they are looking into possible links to other recent fires at vacant homes in Johnston County, but so far, they've found no been no evidence to suggest that.

Johnston County authorities are investigating two separate strings of arson cases – at least nine fires at uninhabited homes in the Clayton area since Halloween 2009 and 11 fires at barns and abandoned homes around Four Oaks and Betonville since February.

Smithfield police will discuss the fires at a community meeting at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26 at South Smithfield Primary School, 201 W. Sanders St.

Police asked residents to vigilantly watch any vacant properties near them and to immediately report any suspicious activity.

A reward has been offered for any information that leads to an arrest in connection with the cases.

Anyone with information should call Smithfield police at 919-934-2121 and ask to speak to Lt. Powell or Detective Johnson.

Location of Smithfield arson fires


View Smithfield arson fires in a larger map

4 Comments

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  • superman Oct 8, 2010

    A fake camera sells for 10.00. Hardly an expensive item when it comes to a 200k house. Of course they shouldnt have to buy cameras, just sit by and do nothing and allow their house to burn. Does it really matter whose fault it is when the house is burned down? Many people have cameras as well as alarm systems installed at their home and business. Just sit back and fiddle while your house goes up in smoke. It's not your fault.

  • OpenM1nd Oct 7, 2010

    I'd start checking around to see if there is someone in the respective Smithfield or Clayton areas who is having difficulty selling his own home, so he's trying to take out the competition. Aside from vandalism or insurance fraud, what other motive would there be?

  • loulou Oct 7, 2010

    Maybe the people can't afford cameras wether real or fake. They shouldn't have to buy cameras anyway. That's like saying you don't care about your vehicle if you don't have an alarm system. It's not the owners fault. It's the arsonists fault.

  • superman Oct 7, 2010

    If the owners really cared about their vacant houses they would install video cams. The fires all started in about the same place in the houses. They should have a good idea as to where to install the cameras. Seems that the owners could care less. Then there are fake cameras that look real that might also deter. I dont think I would be reporting anything as my house might be next.