Rash of Downtown Fires Leads to Arson Investigation

Nun Street
Nun Street
5th Avenue
5th Avenue

FEBRUARY 9, 2006 -- Three downtown Wilmington house fires in two nights have investigators looking for an arsonist.

It began Monday night when a house under renovation on 5th Street sent flames soaring into the night sky. The fire destroyed that building and the two houses on either side.

Around 8:00 Wednesday night a second fire broke out. This time it was at an abandoned home on Nun Street. Not two hours later fire shot from the roof of a house on 2nd Street. Unlike the other fires, the house on 2nd Street wasn't abandoned or under renovation. The owner was getting ready to move in.

"I actually bought this house as an investment, but fell in love with it and was thinking about moving in," says Genevive Wickman.

Homeowners are scared and they're not alone. Builders are concerned their projects could be the next target.

"It's like, what are we going to be worrying about tomorrow? Is it going to happen to what I'm doing? I have over $200,000 invested in the home I'm doing for this homeowner. They live in Charleston and are concerned their house is next," says Karl Deweese.

Police are patroling downtown on high alert. They're driving through, counting vacant houses. Fire officials aren't saying much about the investigation, but they're encouraging residents to be good neighbors and look out for each other.

If you have any information concerning these fires call Crimestoppers at (910) 763-3888 or the arson hotline at 1-800-334-3000.

Reported by Ashley Hayes