Investigators say arsonist responsible for dozens of fires - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Investigators say arsonist responsible for dozens of fires in Clarksdale

(WMC-TV) - Investigators in Clarksdale, Mississippi are tracking an arsonist responsible for more than 70 fires this year.

Investigators said a house was set on fire twice Monday and Tuesday by an arsonist.

"Since July, we've had close to 45 to 50 just arson fires," said Clarksdale Fire Chief Obat Douglass.

Victim Viola Jurden and four other family members, including one disabled son, were in the house when the arsonist hit Monday night.  They barely escaped.

"It's an awful sight to look back at your house and getting out and running with no clothes on hardly from a fire," said Jurden.

Victim Jimmy Tarzi's neighbor had to get out of his house when the flames jumped over.  The arsonist has been striking in the early morning hours.

"If I see him and get him in my backyard, I never thought about killing nobody since the war, but I believe I could," said Tarzi.

Douglass said he and other investigators have staked out areas where the fires have been hoping to catch the arsonist.  So far, no one has seen the elusive arsonist.

Douglass said the arsonist initially burned vacant houses, but now the houses are occupied.

"Now we're up to every other night basically," he said.

Douglass said he has not seen anything like this in his 32 years with the fire department.

Investigators asked for the public's help in catching the arsonist.  If you know anything that could help, call 662-902-1658.

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