OAK HALL, Va. (WAVY) - A serial arsonist on the Eastern Shore struck again Saturday morning.
According to Virginia State Police, an abandoned chicken coop on Withams Road in Oak Hill caught fire around 2:30 a.m. This brings the total number of arsons to 20 in less than two weeks.
Troopers say the arsonist targets abandoned structures, and so far, no one has been hurt. The arsonist often sets several fires each night in different parts of Accomack County. Investigators are now reaching out to residents with abandoned property, and asking them to be on the look out for suspicious activity.
"It's really scary," said Susan Blake, an Eastern Shore resident. "Because maybe someone will think it's a building is abandoned, they will set it on fire, and there may be somebody in there."
It's a concerned shared by Virginia State Police and the Accomack County Sheriff's Office. They worry it won't be long before these fires turn fatal.
"The potential is there that we will have a firefighter injured or we could have someone taking shelter in one of these abandoned structures at night especially with the temperatures dropping. The potential is there that somebody is going be seriously injured or killed as a result of these fires," said Corinne Gellar, Public Relations Director for Virginia State Police.
Volunteer fire departments have been pushed to the max knocking down the blazes with little relief.
"I feel sorry for them having to fight them big fires, because when the fires are fully engulfed," said Sherry Alfree, a resident on the Eastern Shore.
Investigators are now are asking citizens to be keep their eyes peeled for unusual activity around abandoned structures.
"Somebody out there knows something about these fires or the person or persons setting them. Our concerns is safety obviously of the community at large. We've got to put a stop to these fires," said Gellar.
Anyone with information is asked to please call the Virginia State Police toll-free at 1-800-582-8350 or (757) 424-6820; or call the Accomack County Sheriff's Office at (757) 787-1131. There is a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in these cases.
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