ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) - According to documents obtained exclusively by WAVY.com, State Police have spent thousands in overtime hours and expenses investigating the Eastern Shore arsons.
More than 70 fires have been declared arson on the Shore since mid-November. The majority of the fires have been set to abandoned structures, but some commercial structure fires and brush fires have been classified as arson as well.
According to the Virginia State Police, the department has spent more than $124,000 in expenses for the investigation. The spending, which took place between Dec. 1, 2012 and March 9, 2013 breaks down as follows:
- $47,992 on lodging for additional personnel assigned to the county, supplementing extra patrols and investigative needs
- $29,342.75 on meals for those individuals
- $46,914.17 in fuel costs for all personnel assigned to patrol and investigate the area
Additionally, the documents state thousands of overtime and compensation hours have racked up for State Police personnel involved in the investigation (Dec. 1, 2012 through March 9, 2013) that break down as follows:
- 13,089 regular work hours to the arson investigation
- 2,301 hours of comp time earned
- 6,808.5 hours of paid overtime
State Police have confirmed 72 fires are being investigated as arson which break down by days as follows:
- Mondays: 14
- Tuesdays: 9
- Wednesdays :6
- Thursdays: 8
- Fridays: 7
- Saturdays: 14
- Sundays: 14
State Police told 10 On Your Side analysts, plain-clothed agents, uniformed troopers, the ATF and the FBI are assisting in the investigation. Uniformed troopers patrol the county and identify suspicious activity and analysts process tips, intel and evidence from the scenes.
WAVY.com also learned State Police has 30 investigators who specialize in arson and explosives statewide. They won't say how many are on the Eastern Shore, but would only say a "multitude" of agents are dedicated to the investigation.
"It has been several months of a living hell," Tasley Fire Chief Jeff Beall told WAVY.com last week. "It is taking a toll on family life. It is taking a toll on our financial situation with the station, and our personal financial lives."
The Accomack County volunteer firefighters get support from the county and from donations. The county has not been able to tabulate all of the hours worked by the volunteer firefighters.
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