Investigators make arrest in Clarksdale arson spree

Chris Malone, photo courtesy Clarksdale Press Register.
Chris Malone, photo courtesy Clarksdale Press Register.

(WMC-TV) - A nightmare for many Clarksdale, Mississippi residents seems to have finally ended. Investigators have arrested the man they believe set more than 70 fires this year.

Chris Malone was arrested around 7:30 a.m. Thursday and charged with one count of arson, according to reports. However, it's likely that the 31-year-old will soon face more charges.

"We actually kicked his door in at his residence," said Clarksdale Police Chief Greg Hoskins.  "Of course he was there."

People in Clarksdale have lived in fears since an arsonist has set more than 70 fires in mostly abandoned homes.  But some of the recent fires were at occupied houses.

"We have one charge on Chris right now," said Hoskins.  "We believe he is responsible for other fires."

Malone is charged with a fire in April that was at an abandoned house.  Hoskins said someone identified Malone as the arsonist at that fire.

Clarksdale resident Roosevelt Holmes said he is relieved.

Investigators said it was difficult to make an arrest because the arsonist left few clues.

"I'm glad they caught him," said victim Tom Hancock.

Malone served time a few years ago for arson.  Investigators said they believe Malone set most of the fires, but they also believe a copycat may be responsible for some of the arsons and they are working to make more arrests.

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