Geneva police investigating new arson cases

Two different structures burned to the ground just hours apart.
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 6:32 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The city struggled with an arson issue in 2019, now two years later it’s happened all over again.

In Geneva two different structures that sit across the street from each other were engulfed in flames just hours apart. A storage building that sits behind a home appears to have been intentionally set on fire Thursday morning, along with what law enforcement say a vacant mobile home across the street. This happened on North Powell Street and West Register Avenue. The two are still under investigation.

Law enforcement tell News 4 there have been five fires over the last six weeks, saying they are all connected. Several of them in an area of tow across from the community center and high school.

“There is a lot of dangers, it’s not just simple little prank,” Captain Michael McDuffie, Geneva Police Department, said.

Police have noted a pattern of it being mostly abandoned or un-occupied homes, but happen at any time of the day or night.

“With the unoccupied homes our firemen has to come out and put them out and you have dangers in that,” Captain McDuffie said. “You have electrical lines, anything could happen so even though you just think it could be just a shed or something that they are setting on fire, somebody’s got to come put it out.”

However, Captain McDuffie said three weeks ago an occupied home was set on fire, luckily those living in the home were not there at the time.

“When they move to the occupied houses, now it is getting more serious, because eventually somebody could get hurt,” Captain McDuffie said.

Investigators said there are some leads, but no arrests have been made yet. The suspect could face possible charges of criminal mischief, arson, and if someone is hurt, more serious charges.

“If anybody in that area, in that neighborhood, sees anything odd, let us know,” Captain McDuffie said.

News 4 also spoke with Geneva Fire Chief Ben Latimer and he said he hopes the problem can be solved soon because this issue can escalate quickly leading to someone getting injured.

There is a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

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