Firebug on the loose? Alton police probe 11 suspicious fires - KMOV.com

Firebug on the loose? Alton police probe 11 suspicious fires

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The Alton Fire Department is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone that has information leading to an arrest in connection with possible arsons that have occurred in the city. Credit: KMOV The Alton Fire Department is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone that has information leading to an arrest in connection with possible arsons that have occurred in the city. Credit: KMOV
ALTON, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

There's a growing concern that someone is setting vacant houses on fire in Alton, Ill.

Fire crews have responded to at least 11 suspicious fires since last August in Alton, Ill. Eight of these fires since the beginning of the year spread out around the town.

Amanda Gegg's parents live right across the street from the latest fire at a rental house. Gegg’s mother called 911 shortly after 4:00 a.m. on Monday to report it. The house had been vacant for a year and a half.

“My kids are here all the time,” said Gegg. “I have four children and they reside here sometimes with my parents cause it's summertime. It's a scary situation.”

The fire fits a particular pattern. All of the fires have happened overnight. Reports come in between 11 pm and 4 a.m. and the fires are usually at rental properties.

Alton Fire Department Fire Chief Bernie Sebold said there was a two-month period where there were no suspicious fires. He got his hopes up, perhaps he had seen the end of this. Then there were two suspicious fires within one week.

“The common theme is that there are no utilities to the properties, no gas, no electricity and the properties had been vacant for an extended period of time,” said Sebold.

a $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to a conviction.

“Whether it's just a neighbor that sees someone driving past the house, hanging out near the house looking in windows, please notify the police department here in Alton so that can be checked out,” said Sebold.

Sebold said the fires tie up fire crews and put firefighters and neighbors at risk. There's also danger they can spread.

Gegg said the house next-door to her parents and another right across the street are also vacant. She's worried that someone could set fire to a home with people inside.

“I just hope it doesn't get any more serious than this,” said Gegg. “Hope this one doesn't end up in flames or this one doesn't end up in flames. You know there are too many vacant homes around here.”

Anyone with information is being asked to contact Alton authorities at 318-463-3505 or 618-463-3565

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