Arson investigators offer reward

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The burned out shell of a vacant South Side home on Rugby Avenue has neighbors terrified. That's because fire investigators believe it's the work of an arsonist.

"It's horrible, you know, people would do something like that just for fun, or just to watch it burn," said a neighbor who asked not to be named. Suspicious fires broke out in at least three other nearby homes. Another neighbor agreed to talk only if her identity was concealed.

"I've seen homeless people living in there, coming in late at night," she said.

Fire investigators found at one scene "a Dr. Pepper bottle." Evidence backing up witness claims a home which should've been empty had visitors before the fire.

"Our arson dog was able to indicate that there was some kind of accelerant in this building, which really indicates to us that someone did start this fire," said KFD Captain Mark Wilbanks.

Investigators say homes weren't the only structures the firebugs set ablaze. They also torched two apartment dumpsters.

KFD hopes cold hard cash, $1,500 to be exact, will cause someone to drop the dime on this dangerous criminal.

"Our arson hotline has had numerous calls and some of those calls have led to pretty good leads, according to our investigators."

If you have information on the fires call 1-800-762-3017.

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