Gulfport residents concerned about arson - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport residents concerned about arson

Fire officials investigating three fires, all ruled arson in an area in Gulfport. (Image Source: WLOX News) Fire officials investigating three fires, all ruled arson in an area in Gulfport. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Just this year, the Gulfport fire department has responded to three different house fires all within a mile of each other.  (Image Source: WLOX News) Just this year, the Gulfport fire department has responded to three different house fires all within a mile of each other. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Chief Beyerstedt says they are looking for a responsible party. (Image Source: WLOX News) Chief Beyerstedt says they are looking for a responsible party. (Image Source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Fire officials are investigating three fires in an area of Gulfport; all ruled arson.

Residents are on high alert, fearful their homes could be the next target.

"In early March is the first time we had a fire in that cluster area," said Chief Michael Beyerstedt.

In 2016, the Gulfport Fire Department has responded to three different house fires all within a mile of each other. 

"I've been here six years and we haven't really had an instance where we've had three that were so closely tied together like this, and it's really kind of an unusual circumstance for us," said Beyerstedt.

Two of the three homes were destroyed, one of them was only scorched. However, the incidents have neighbors worried if they will be the next victim. So, they are taking precautions.

"I just leave my lights on at night now, just a little more aware of what's going on," said one resident.

Another resident, who did not want to be identified, has lived in the area for more than 50 years. She says she's still in shock that an arsonist might be targeting their neighborhood.

Another house caught fire on Sunday, but was a little more than a mile away.

"We're not really thinking that's connected at this point. The cause, determination on that fire, we have it narrowed down to two different causes," said Beyerstedt.

Still, with so many fires in such a short time span, residents say they're keeping a watchful eye and hoping whoever is responsible is caught soon.

"We're working with the state fire marshal's office on the previous cluster of three because we do believe those are connected just because it's a close proximity. You know, those are obviously not natural or accidental fires," said Beyerstedt.

Chief Beyerstedt says anyone with tips on who may responsible should call the Gulfport Fire Department at (228) 868-5950.

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