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Arson fires at vacant Smithfield houses linked

Smithfield police suspect that recent arson fires at three vacant houses are connected and have offered a reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

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Smithfield vacant house fire
SMITHFIELD, N.C. — 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

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Anne Johnson, Web Editor

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