Arsonist suspected in Ocean Co. house fires

March 5, 2008 3:21:26 PM PST
Authorities are investigating a string of house fires in Ocean County."It's a scary situation when something like this is going on. This isn't happening by accident. I mean somebody is setting these fires," said Bob Douglas.

Residents of Little Egg Harbor are hoping police will catch whoever is responsible for four suspicious home fires in 10 days in the West Tuckerton section of town. A home on Nantucket Court was burned to the ground February 23rd.

"The sky was just lit up," said next door neighbor, Loretta Murphy.

Another house on Great Bay Boulevard was destroyed and two other homes sustained minor fire damage. A $30,000 boat was also burned. All of the house fires occurred in the middle of the night in homes that were unoccupied.

"It's about half and half. Part-time residents and full-time residents, so there's lots of empty houses and that seems to be what they're going for," said Scott Graham.

Residents here say as long as someone is out there setting fires they can't relax.

"When the lights go down, when the sun goes down during the night, nobody can sleep. Everybody is on edge and they're up looking out the windows at night," said Barbara Scott.

Fire investigators say they have been able to determine how the blazes have been set, but not by whom. Authorities are asking anyone with information to call police or the Ocean County Prosecutor's office so that whoever's responsible for setting these fires can be stopped.

"If we have someone who is out of control in terms of setting fires, they are like walking around a neighborhood with a loaded gun closing their eyes and pointing it," said prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford.