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Investigators Look For Person Responsible For String Of Vance Fires

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HENDERSON, N.C. — Authorities are looking for the person responsible for a string of fires in Henderson.

Authorities said a mill house near the old Harriett-Henderson textile mill went up in flames earlier in the month. They said someone started the fire in the rear of the house. No one was home when the firebug struck.

Fire officials said a Labor Day fire at Henderson's First Baptist Church began under the steps, not far from piles of garbage. Flames destroyed a section of stained-glass windows. The damage is estimated at nearly $50,000. The most recent fire occurred Thursday when it damaged part of an old tobacco warehouse now used to store furniture.

"Pretty much, they've used available materials on the scene -- ordinary combustible-type materials, paper, cardboard box, whatever may be," said Chief Danny Wilkerson, of the Henderson-Vance Fire Department.

Wilkerson said all of the suspicious fires were set between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

"Fires have been set on the outside with hope that it would travel inside the structure," he said.

Wilkerson is encouraging stores to clean up around their buildings, so they will not become the firebug's next victim.

"When they put out combustible materials such as boxes, and I know they do in the business district, be sure they are picked up pretty quick. It's just a prime target for these people to go and start a fire," he said.

Property loss from the fires has been put at more than $3 million.


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