Benson Police are investigating a total of five suspicious fires on the same street in the last month. Police aren’t saying if they’re connected but residents say they are concerned a fire bug may be on the loose.
The most recent fire occurred at 1:40am Monday at 205 E. King Circle. Donnetta Johnson was away from her home when it caught fire. The $80,000 single story home was a total loss.
The other four fires also occurred along King Circle.
Benson Police Captain Greg Percy said the first four incidents were less serious. Previous fires were set on vehicles and patio furniture.
Vehicles parked in driveways on King Circle sustained minor damage after someone placed an object on the windshields and set it ablaze. The fires burned so hot the heat cracked the windshields on the cars.
In another incident, a wicker chair on a patio was intentionally torched. The fire destroyed the chair and melted the vinyl on the adjacent house before it was extinguished.
Investigators aren’t ready to say the fires are the works of the same person or persons. Captain Percy said nothing is being ruled out, including the possibility juveniles may be responsible for the blazes.
Percy said Monday’s house fire is being treated as suspicious. Federal ATF agents are assisting Benson Police and the Johnston County Fire Marshal’s Office looking into how the fire began. ATF agents took several items back to a federal lab for testing.
The Johnston County District Attorney’s Office is also assisting with the case.
In all of the cases except Monday’s house fire, the occupants were inside their homes when the fires occurred.
Anyone with information about the suspicious fires on King Circle in Benson over the past month is asked to contact Benson Police at 919-894-2091 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.