Two structure fires found to be arson

Published 1:01 am Sunday, July 27, 2008

Two fires, one in Nicholson and another in the Pine Grove area, were both found to be set by female juveniles.

The first fire took place at 21 Emmett Meitzler Rd. in Nicholson Wednesday just before 6 p.m. Nicholson Volunteer firefighters arrived on scene in a matter of minutes and had the fire under control in less than 45 minutes.

No one was residing at the home at the time of the fire so there were no fatalities or severe injuries; however two firefighters were taken to the hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion after working the fire, said Pearl River County Fire Marshall Albert Lee.

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Arson was suspected but there was no physical proof at first.

“When you have a house with no electricity and no gas it’s pretty obvious what happened,” Lee said.

Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department deputies talked to two 13 year-old female suspects and through some investigation found that they were involved in setting the fire. They were both charged with arson and burglary. Chief Investigator Shane Tucker said it appeared as through the two girls light curtains in the living room and laundry room on fire to start the blaze.

A separate arson incident the next day at about 4:23 p.m. turned out to be an inside job. The fire occurred Thursday at a home located at 2750 Burnt Bridge Rd. and was extinguished by Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Department, Tucker said.

When firefighters arrived on scene they noticed that all the doors were locked. An investigation into the incident found a safe in a closet pried open and the cash and coins inside stolen.

As it turned out an investigation into the incident showed the 16 year-old daughter of home’s residents broke into the safe and set fire to the home to cover up the crime, Tucker said.

“I’ve got to commend our investigators on this one,” Tucker said.

The case was solved after investigators notified the local banks to call them if anyone brought in a large amount of coins. Picayune Police Department assisted in the investigation when a call from a local bank notified them there was a customer in their bank matching that criteria, Tucker said. The female at the bank was picked up and questioned about the coins. She informed investigators the 16 year-old female suspect who lives at the house on Burnt Bridge Road had given her the coins. No charges were pressed against the female picked up at the bank, but the 16 year-old juvenile was arrested for arson.

Since she lived at the home no other charges were pressed against her.

“The parents would really have to pursue the theft,” Tucker said.

All three arson suspects have been taken to the juvenile detention center in Forrest County.

Tucker commends all of his investigators, including the narcotics division, for their hard work in making great strides to improve the quality of investigations.

“All the people we have in here are doing an outstanding job,” Tucker said.