O’Fallon, IL police looking into arson incidents

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(KTVI) - Police in O’Fallon, Illinois are looking for what appears to be a serial arsonist, who has struck three times in fewer than three weeks.  To this point the damage has not been severe, but there is enough concern about what could happen that police have put up a reward for information leading to an arrest.

The first fire happened July 17th on Rebecca Drive.  Vinyl siding was charred and melted along the side of the house, but the damage wasn’t severe.

Police viewed it as an isolated incident until Sunday, when they received two reports of fires from the overnight before.

Gil Martinez discovered the remnants of one of the weekend fires Sunday morning looking at his neighbor’s house.

“It’s crazy.  It’s crazy,” he said.  “And again I’m hoping it’s not one of these challenge things that kids are doing nowadays, trying to set themselves on fire or something like this here.  Again, it’s very dangerous.”

Neighbors of the home where the arsonist struck first agree.

“I think that’s something that’s not a joke,” Joe Farnen said.  “That’s something really stupid for kids or adults to do.  That could cause somebody to lose their life.”

And that’s what has police worried.  The word “teenager” was used by a number of people in discussing who might have done this.  Police say they aren’t ruling out anything.

“Of course that’s a possibility it could be related to something like youth crimes, along that line, but even if that’s the case, they need to understand the potential here for some serious harm to be done to somebody is a lot,” O’Fallon Police Detective William Barlock said.

Now they’re looking for any information they can find, and offering $1000 to help get it.

“Even in the nearby businesses,” Barlock said.  “Information of people seeing some suspicious subjects buying accelerants.  We know there was some form of accelerant used at the residences.  It’s unidentified at this point.”

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