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"Suspicious" Fires May Be Connected to Fires in 2007, 2008 and 2010

During the early morning hours on Monday April 18, 2011, officials were called out to three separate fires in the city. All three fires were within blocks of each other and were similar in nature.

Palm trees, brush and part of a fence caught fire around 3 a.m. Monday April 18, 2011. Officials aren't talking about one central fire, there were three separate locations in the city that caught fire that morning. They are being investigated and are being called "suspicious" in nature.

"They are all in areas that are easily accessible from vehicles," Sgt. Robert Burkhart said. 

The fires that happened on April 18th were located at:

  • Gulfport Blvd. S. north of Clymer Park
  • 5500 block of 26th Ave S., north of a duplex
  • 2600 block of 56th St. S. in an alley behind residential homes

Sgt. Burkhart says these cases are the newest in a string of fires that have been reported in the city of Gulfport in the past 5 years. No one has been arrested in connection with any of the 18 fires reported between May 10, 2007 and April 18, 2011. The circumstances of all of the reported fires are similar and officials believe they could be related.

"They all have the same MO (mode of operation). They all involved palm trees (and) fences." Burkhart said.

According to reports:

  • 12 fires occurred between May 10, 2007 and January 13, 2008.
  • No fires of this nature were reported in 2009.
  • Three were reported in June, 2010.
  • Three were reported in April, 2011.
  • The total reported fires is 18.

All but one of the reported fires were limited to plants, brush and fences. A fire that was called in around 1:45 a.m. on June 25, 2010, spread to a shed. Because that incident involed a structure, it was reported as an arson.

"Crews are fighting one fire and just a couple blocks away, there's another fire," Burkhart said.

Officials believe the separate incidents may be related and are asking anyone with information to call the Gulfport Police Department's Non-Emergency Line at 727-893-1030.

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