Provo city officials are asking for the community’s help in finding a serial arsonist that has set 10 fires in the last month.Each of the 10 fires has been ignited in or around an abandoned house or structure. The first fire too place on March 13 and the latest fire happened early Tuesday morning.
Provo City Chief of Police John King says they’ve created a task force to deal with the issue and have increased the number of patrols around the city in the evening. But King says the best help can come from observant members of the city who report suspicious behavior.
“Neighbors know their neighbors and they know what is unusual in a community. So, things that are unusual, people that they don’t normally associate with in your community, and especially people who may be walking around abandoned properties in the city, those are things we want to know about.”
Provo Fire Marshal Ben Scofield says officials believe the fires are connected because they all happened at abandoned buildings and according to their specially trained dogs, have all involved some type of fire accelerant.
Police Chief King says even though the arsonist has only set fire to abandoned buildings, it’s still a very serious issue.
“Maybe the person who’s setting or the persons who are setting these fires think that they are unoccupied buildings, but as the fire chief mentioned, this is a dangerous precedent to set. There are many ways that people can get very seriously injured in these fires and we need to stop it immediately.”
The city is offering a reward of $5,000 for any information about the fires that leads to an arrest or a conviction. Mayor John Curtis is asking residents who have information to call 801-852-7400.