Local News

More suspicious fires reported in Johnston County

Posted September 20, 2010 11:47 a.m. EDT
Updated September 20, 2010 5:49 p.m. EDT

— The Johnston County Sheriff's Office is investigating two suspicious fires which broke out early Monday morning in Johnston County.

Just after 1:30 a.m., crews were called to a fire at 9360 Stricklands Crossroads Road in Benson. A shed had caught fire. Within 10 minutes, crews were called to a fire about 8 miles away at a vacant house in the 1200 block of Stewart Road in Four Oaks.

No injuries were reported in either fire.

The house on Stewart Road is owned by Steve Bryant, who owns the Carolina Mudcats minor league baseball team.

"The dwelling deserved a better demise than this. It had a lot of history," Bryant said.

The blazes make 29 suspicious fires in Johnston County since April.

“It is a little disconcerting to know that there is a group out there that is getting away with all this,” Bryant said.

Among those are a series of fires at barns and abandoned houses since February. Authorities believe those fires, around Four Oaks and Bentonville in southwestern parts of the county, are related. They, however, do not believe the fires, including the ones on Monday morning, are linked to a series of arson fires in the Clayton area.

Since Oct. 31, 2009, nine houses that are abandoned or under construction have been set on fire in Clayton.

The most recent blaze in the area was reported Saturday night at 738 Strickland Road, near Swift Creek Road. The house had been abandoned for decades and had no power.

Saturday's fire was three miles from the Glen Laurel subdivision, where arson is suspected in fires at three houses under construction.

Clayton police and the State Bureau of Investigation have been investigating possible links between the fires. A $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to arrests and convictions in the cases.

Anyone with information about the fires should call Clayton police at 919-553-4611 or Clayton Crime Stoppers at 919-359-8479.

Locations of suspicious fires in Johnston County, as of Sept. 20, 2010

Locations of arson fires in Clayton, as of Sept. 19, 2010

View Clayton arson fires in a larger map