Local News

Fires hit unoccupied houses in Fayetteville subdivision

Posted November 2, 2009 5:57 a.m. EST
Updated November 2, 2009 5:40 p.m. EST

— Authorities said they believe that someone intentionally set fires at two unoccupied houses in a northeastern Fayetteville subdivision that was hit by arson nearly two years ago.

The two-alarm fires hit houses at 2740 Rivercliff Road, which was vacant, and 2776 Rivercliff Road. Residents said developer Robert Gore lived in the second home but was away.

Residents of the Rivercliff subdivision, off Ramsey Street, reported one fire shortly before 3:30 a.m. The house was engulfed in flames when police arrived.

Police evacuated nearby homes and found the second house on fire an eighth of a mile north on Rivercliff Road. Units from five fire stations responded and put out both fires.

No injuries were reported, and residents were allowed to return to their homes, police said.

Both houses were destroyed, and adjacent houses at 2772 and 2760 Rivercliff Road had minor damage from exposure to heat, fire officials said.

Sherron Evans said she bought the lot at 2740 Rivercliff Road in 1995 and had been slowly building a two-story house there ever since.

"My goal was to build a dream home, and when I moved into this house, I didn't owe anybody anything," Evans said, adding that she and her 14-year-old daughter planned to move into the home soon. "I will build. I will rebuild."

Investigators haven't determined a cause or point of origin of the fires and don't have any suspects.

"I'm not putting this on anyone because I don't know who did it," Evans said.

Fire officials said three houses in the neighborhood were destroyed in fires that were intentionally set in 2007. No one has been arrested in those cases of arson, and investigators wouldn't say whether they think the fires are linked to Monday's fires.

Gore owned the three houses that burned two years ago, and neighbors said at the time that they had numerous problems with him. Court records show that he has been sued for not paying contractors and suppliers.

Gore couldn't be reached Monday for comment.

Monday's fires were being investigated by the Fayetteville Fire Investigation Team, which is made up of members of the the Fayetteville fire and police departments, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, State Bureau of Investigation and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.