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Johnston County agencies to coordinate arson investigations

Posted October 18, 2010

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— Monday morning's fire at Johnston County Recycling Inc. marked the 35th suspicious fire in Johnston County over the past 12 months, according to Smithfield and Clayton police and the sheriff's office.

The three agencies plan to meet for the first time face-to-face either this week or next. They've previously talked over the phone.

The agencies said they believe the fires in their jurisdictions are related, but they are doubtful that all of the fires are connected based on the locations and how they have been set.

Smithfield police say an arsonist struck the recycling warehouse early Monday, marking the sixth suspicious fire in Smithfield since August.

Johnston County investigates 35th suspicious fire Johnston County investigates 35th suspicious fire

An officer was able to put out the flames with his feet and a fire extinguisher after a passing driver alerted authorities. Some of the building's duct work was damaged.

Clayton has reported nine fires since October 2009, mostly in new houses or houses under construction. Since April, 20 fires have been set 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 confidentially on the department's tip line at 919-989-8835.

17 Comments

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  • leo-nc Oct 19, 2010

    "If everyone in JuCo is so well armed and protects their property so well, how come this arsonist has no problems setting fires here and there?"----

    Are you serious? Have you been following these cases at ALL? You do realize that almost ALL of the fires were in buildings that weren't occupied... I hope. WOW.... Go back to work, doing whatever it is you do, please for the sake of humanity.

  • Centurian Oct 19, 2010

    The reward posted for the fires in Clayton is up to $20,000.

  • ccs1920 Oct 19, 2010

    I personally think that the reward needs to be much higher than $5,000. Up it to $25,000 and see what happens.

  • ncmedic201 Oct 18, 2010

    bgcoving, read the article again. It says it will be the first "face to face" meeting. It doesn't say it will be the first time they have discussed the case together.

  • bgcoving Oct 18, 2010

    The fires in the county started around the 1st of April (check the map) and it is now past the middle of October and they have decided to 'coordinate' their investigations. If this isn't an example of the failure of law enforcement to combine resources across multiple jurisdictions then the very least we can agree on is that "It's about time!!!" If it's my house that's on fire then I'm not too particular whether or not it's the local volunteer squad or the Clayton FD that puts it out. I feel the same way about law enforcement.

  • NAQ25 Oct 18, 2010

    Is anyone considering including the fire(s) that destroyed Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Clayton in May and June of 2009? That case is still unsolved and was the first of the arsons in Clayton in recent memory.

  • ncmedic201 Oct 18, 2010

    bgcoving, why would the sheriffs office attend a meeting when the town PD has jurisdiction? Obviously the person doing this is not leaving any evidence. There are multiple jurisdictions working this case and you are saying every single one of them are failures? Please...

  • Adelinthe Oct 18, 2010

    "An officer was able to stomp out the flames with his feet and a fire extinguisher after a passing driver alerted authorities. Some of the building's duct work was damaged."

    WOW!!! Good job officer.

    God bless.

    RB

  • bgcoving Oct 18, 2010

    I would suggest that rather than framing this as an argument for or against gun control, which it isn't, we should instead focus on the real issue, which is that this is a case of the failure of law enforcement. The Clayton PD is out busting prostitutes...Big Deal. Bizzell has been too busy running for re-election to offer aid and assistance to the Clayton PD, as was evidenced by their total lack of appearance at the community meeting held at Powhatan Elementary back in April, and the SBI, of course, is useless because they don't have a suspect to fabricate evidence against. Huzzahs all around for law enforcement!

  • meBNme Oct 18, 2010

    If everyone in JuCo is so well armed and protects their property so well, how come this arsonist has no problems setting fires here and there?
    Mr. Middle of the Road

    Cause them thar houses is owned by city slickers in wake county thets why!

    NO, honestly, I wonder if some twisted exfireman isnt behind some of it.

    The person is smart enough to choose unoccupied buildings, and could possible be even purposfully using different methods to throw folks off.

    Could it be some volonteer fireman who somehow slipped through the screening process who thrills off setting and putting out fires, but doesnt want to really hurt anyone? Maybe just smart enough to pick unocupied buildings so he doesnt face murder charges?

    I'm sure the athourities have considered all this and much more.

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