Local News

Authorities investigating multiple vacant-home fires in Fayetteville

Posted August 25, 2015 4:03 p.m. EDT
Updated August 25, 2015 4:45 p.m. EDT

Authorities are investigating how a vacant house on Slater Avenue in Fayetteville caught fire Sunday night.

Officials said that a second home, on Nicky Avenue, may have been set on fire two times in the last three days.

“Anytime you have a vacant structure with no electricity, that’s always a red flag,” said Fayetteville Fire Chief Ben Major. “Something’s happened … There wasn’t a lightning storm that I was aware of. So, that means something had to be introduced.”

James Davis, who lives next door to the vacant house on Nicky Avenue, said he has his own theory about how the fire was started.

“I think maybe some homeless people may have been staying there and caught it on fire trying to cook something,” he said.

Major said he is monitoring the number of vacant structure fires around the city.

In 2013, there were only 15 vacant home fires. Last year, the number skyrocketed to 52.

During the first six months of this year, 21 vacant homes were lost due to fire.

“The first six months seemed comparable to last year, which we though was too high,” Major said. “But it seems like, over the last couple of months, I’ve been hearing more dispatches to vacant structures.”

Major said he’s working with city leaders to get homeowners to board up the vacant homes and is also requesting that residents keep their eyes open and report any suspicious activity.