Coalville hit with apparent arson spree: 8 blazes in 24 hours
A string of apparent arsons in Coalville has brought state investigators to the East Side city, with eight blazes sparked between Monday and Tuesday including one outside of a home that grew so hot it shattered a front window and melted some of the front facade.
A spokesperson for the state agency leading the investigation said Wednesday that authorities did not have a suspect in custody.
“These fires are intentionally set. We don’t believe they’re an accident,” said Jason Curry, spokesperson for the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “… The investigation is still open and ongoing. We’re looking into leads and gathering evidence.”
Curry added that he thought there was enough evidence in this case that a suspect would be brought to justice.
On Tuesday morning, the North Summit Fire District reported that there had been eight small brush fires within the preceding 24 hours within the Coalville city limits. In asking the public to share information related to the fires, the district wrote on Facebook “we feel it is only a matter of time before extensive damage to property and possibly life, is going to happen, if this individual or individuals are not caught.”
The district added that firefighters were able to suppress most of the fires quickly and prevent them from spreading.
Several of the fires were in grassy areas that appeared not to be close to structures in photos shared by the district, but at least one of the fires was set in front of a home. In that blaze, Curry said that large bushes in front of the home became fully engulfed in flame and radiated enough heat to shatter a window and melt some trim.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the suspected arson spree along with the state agency, and Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright said that the home was occupied at the time it was damaged by fire.
Curry said that no one had been injured as a result of the fires and that he didn’t have any reason to believe the home was specifically targeted.
The consequences for arson range from a misdemeanor to a second-degree felony, which carries penalties of up to 15 years in prison. Curry said that several factors are taken into account in determining punishment, including the monetary value of the damage done and whether the fire threatened an occupied structure.
Planning Department staff on Wednesday shared an idea for a new concept, dubbed the Community Planning Lab, with the Summit County Council. The initiative strives to engage people who want to better understand the processes that drive executive decisions.
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