Authorities search for arsonist after two fires at Memphis Daycare

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 10:13 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Better Choice Childcare’s daycare bus is what fire investigators said is the first phase of an arson fire.

Investigators said hours later the daycare itself was set on fire.

“You can see somebody had driven by real slow. They went around the south end of the building and looped around and came in the front driveway,” said Wade Thorneberry.

Thorneberry works at a transmission business right across the street from a Better Choice Child Care Center on Stage Road in Raleigh.

Fire investigators said the first fire was set around 2:30 Tuesday morning inside the daycare bus that transported children.

The transmission shop’s surveillance camera captured a small light colored car driving up to the daycare.

“They happened to park in the alley where you can see them on our camera,” said Thorneberry.

Fire investigators believe at least one of the two men sprayed some type of accelerant using what looked like a fertilizer spray backpack into the bus and the daycare.

While WMC Action News 5 was at the transmission shop a fire investigator showed up to look at the video.

It also appears someone broke the window of the apparently closed beauty salon next to the daycare that also has fire damage.

Several hours later investigators said around 7:50 Tuesday evening, five small fires were set inside the daycare.

On the front lawn charred remains of children’s masks and other items used at the daycare.

Thorneberry said a week or so before the fires an employee at the daycare said there had been a theft from the bus.

“Week or two weeks somebody went up under the bus and stole a catalytic converter off it,” he said.

Fire investigators have no motive for the arson fires.

Thorneberry doesn’t know what to think other than it is shocking.

“Very much so,” he told WMC Action News 5.

Fire investigators really want to catch the people who set the fires.

If you know anything, call Crimestoppers at 901-528-CASH.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.