Still no arrests in 4 St. Augustine fires

Published On: Aug 06 2014 10:05:05 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 08 2014 06:57:46 PM EDT

Just over two weeks since flames lit up a one-mile stretch of the nation's oldest city. Investigators may up the ante in hopes of finding the arsonist.


Investigators say they are meeting and considering increasing the reward for information leading to an arrest after four fires in St. Augustine in the early morning hours of June 23.

Three of those fires were ruled arson. All of the fires all happened within a mile and within three hours.

As of Tuesday, no arrests have been made in the case and police are still searching for suspects, according to Cmdr. Barry Fox of the St. Augustine Police Department.

Fox said investigators are still trying to follow leads and are still meeting regularly to find out who is behind the arsons.

"Arson investigations are some of the most difficult," Fox said.

A business and a home on Cordova Street, along with a home on Saragossa Street were set on fire, according to investigators.

Investigators with the state and local fire marshal's offices worked on the investigation. They were unable to determine if a fire at a home at 91 Park Place, which started around the same time as the other fires, was arson as well.

Police said they are searching for a person of interest seen in surveillance video near the Cordova Street fires.

Jerry Dixon owns the architectural firm that was set on fire on Cordova Street. He said it will take about a month to start the rebuilding process.

"We're working with the insurance company right now," Dixon said.

The Chocolate Turtle is next door. Laura Highsmith, the owner, said people who come into her business see the damage.

"That's kind of a shock for people when they walk back here and they actually see how damaged it is, because from the front you don't notice," Highsmith said.

After the arsons, police increased patrols.

"We have officers, additional patrol people were out that were out on the streets, just trying to pin down some of the information that they could gather," Police Department spokesman Mark Samson said.

With no suspects or arrests, some say they're worried another arson can happen, especially considering how many abandoned homes there are in the area.

Anyone with any information about the fires is asked to call 877-NO-ARSON (662-7766) or Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward.


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