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Palm Tree in Clam Bayou Set on Fire: Fifth Suspicious Fire this Year

Gulfport Det. Sgt. Robert Burkhart says they are investigating the fifth palm tree/brush fire this year.

Theis investigating the fifth suspicious palm tree/brush fire reported in the city this year. A palm tree off a main path at Clam Bayou was set on fire on around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, 2011.

What makes this different from the four other fires reported this year is the MO or Mode of Operation.

"Completely out of the MO of the other fires," Det. Sgt. Robert Burkhart said.

That's because the other four fires under investigation happened near homes and neighborhoods and during overnight hours. The last fire was reported on June 7th at a vacant lot at 5704 28th Ave S. in Gulfport. During that early morning fire, a witness saw man or teen near the lot during the fire. That witness asked him if he called 9-1-1. Officials say he didn't answer, instead he ran east on 28th Ave S., jumped in a waiting car at the 5500 block (about 2 blocks away from the fire) and sped off heading east.

Officials are looking for a while male about 5'7'' tall with a medium build. He was seen wearing gray sweatpants, a black t-shirt and a baseball hat.

Three fires happened during the early morning hours of April 18, 2011. All of those happened in the city, near neighborhoods and alley's. There were no witnesses.

The palm tree fire at Clam Bayou is now the fifth fire reported to law enforcement. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Non-Emergency Line at (727) 893-1030.

CJ June 17, 2011 at 02:24 PM
I don't understand. Why are kids doing this? Is there a particular reason that it is just Palms being set on fire. Does it kill the trees? Hope this is just a short length fad and these kids realize that very few people think this is funny and there is no point in continuing to do it. Seems strangly similar to ''tagging'' or graffitti. I would like to say that I miss the days when kids simply rang a doorbell and ran...but I read where some kid got shot by a homeowner for doing it. In this day and age it is hard to define what is justified as our right to protect ourselves. What used to be simply just bascially harmless pranks, can now be perceived as genuine fear for our safety.

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