String of House Fires Across the East - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

String of House Fires Across the East

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Investigators are now calling a fire in Pitt County suspicious.

It happened Tuesday night on MacGregor Downs Road just before 11pm.

Firefighters tell us there was no power in the home and no one lived there. It's just the latest in a string of abandoned house fires.

"This has to take a toll on you," said 9 on your side's Kristen Hunter.

"Absolutely as volunteers we're on call 24/7-365. We don't get a break. We rely on the same people to respond to these calls day in and day out. So when you see a series of malicious or unfortunate events come along with structure fires they're very strenuous," said Lt. Brandon Smith, of the Red Oak Volunteer Fire Department.

Red Oak Volunteer firefighters responded to this abandoned house Tuesday night. They say it's at least the third one they've been called to in a week. But Lt. Smith says along with the long hours, also comes real risks.

"There's no telling what's inside these abandoned structures. LP tanks, lawn mowers, flammable liquids. We just don't know what's in there," he said.

But the fires don't stop there.

On March 22ND, there was a suspicious house fire in Vanceboro. And investigators say arson is to blame for a house fire on West 5th Street in Greenville on March 15th.

Just days before, Pitt County deputies arrested 46-year-old Albert Manning. Investigators say he set fire to 7 homes in Pitt and Beaufort County in a two year span.

"There are some people who just love the excitement of watching stuff burn. Some like the excitement of hearing a fire truck come," Sheriff Elks said in an interview in March.

But investigators are quick to say arson isn't always the case.

"The homeless people go in there from time to time and I guess they go into the back and be sleeping in the back and stuff," said a neighbor of the house on 5th Street.  

That's why Greenville code-enforcement regularly checks up on abandoned houses to look for squatters.

"These houses are so old and parts of them are deteriorated enough where they just become a fire hazard, in and of itself. And all it takes is someone lighting a candle or lighting a cigarette and walking away," said Code Enforcement officer, A.J. Basile.

No one has been injured in any of the fires.

Pitt County investigators have not released many details about the fire on MacGregor Downs Road, as it is still under investigation.

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