NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — There’s a new push to get answers in a string of suspicious fires in Norfolk’s West Ghent neighborhood.
The McGee family is now offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person residents have dubbed the “West Ghent Arsonist.”
The McGee family’s cars and home caught fire on June 11. They were inside on a Friday night watching a movie with their two young children at the time. Everyone got out safely.
A witness saw what they described as a man-made burning box under the gas tank of one of their cars. Moments later, the car went up in flames. The fire quickly spread. The McGees believe they were the victims of an arson attack.
They aren’t the only ones.
Over the past 16 months, there have been five suspicious fires on or near the corner of Redgate Avenue and Claremont Avenue.
The Norfolk Fire Marshal’s Office is still investigating. Officials told us they are working “around the clock” to find answers.
The McGees want to help.
“Our family is going to offer a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist that lives in West Ghent,” said Pat McGee. “I know from speaking to the investigators that every little bit of information helps.”
“We want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to help the fire investigators solve this crime,” said Pat’s wife, Tiffany McGee.
The suspicious fires began in February 2020. After three suspicious fires, the Norfolk Fire Marshal’s Office posted a “person of interest” on the Nextdoor app on June 1, 2020. Officials wanted residents to help identify a person caught on surveillance camera just moments before one of the fires broke out.
From speaking with neighbors and combing through old news articles, the McGees recently learned of another string of fires in Larchmont from a decade ago. They believe all the fires could be connected.
“We encourage every single person that has seen suspicious activity for the last year in this part of West Ghent or in 2011 in Larchmont, please we beg you, reach out to Norfolk fire and Norfolk police. Tell them what you know,” said Pat McGee.
“Anything. Any information, you never know what that thing is that might be the missing piece. So whatever it is it’s not too small,” said Tiffany McGee.