ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County authorities are investigating three separate suspected arsons that took place this past weekend. Two of the fires occurred about three miles apart in vacant residences south of Rogersville.
Shortly after midnight Saturday, firefighters were dispatched to a vacant mobile home fire at 116 Little Springs Road Lot 9, off of Route 66 just south of Rogersville.
A neighbor in the same mobile home park called 911 after hearing a popping noise and then looking outside to see the trailer next door engulfed in flames.
At the time of the fire, that mobile home had been vacant for about a month and there was no electrical hookup. The owner authorized firefighters to let the trailer burn to the ground and protect the neighboring trailers in the mobile home park.
Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Mike Allen, who also responded to the scene, stated in his report there was an odor of gasoline coming from inside the residence when he arrived. Although arson is suspected, the residence wasn’t insured and the owner told Allen he didn’t want an investigation.
A second suspected arson occurred Sunday at about 1 a.m. in a house at 127 Bradshaw Drive in the Persia community, about three miles south of the Little Springs Road fire.
The house, which was valued at $45,000, had been vacant for six years and hadn’t had electrical or gas hookup for more than a year.
Allen, who also responded to the second fire, stated in his report that the fire started in a small bedroom at the rear of the house near a doorway.
Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency Director Gary Murrell said that when he arrived on the scene to offer backup assistance the house was fully involved with flames. He said it was a total loss.
Since there were no utilities hooked up, the HCSO is investigating the Bradshaw drive fire as an arson.
The third suspected arson was discovered Sunday at about 6:40 p.m. and involved a “Molotov cocktail” apparently intended to cause a brush fire on Haun Road in the Goshen Valley community south of Church Hill.
HCSO Deputy Ethan Mays responded to the scene at the request of the Goshen Valley Volunteer Fire Department.
Mays reportedly observed a broken Colt 45 malt liquor bottle near the roadway. The bottle had a strong odor of gasoline and it had a small piece of fabric sticking out of the top, which apparently served as the wick.
The witness who reported the fire told Hawkins County Central Dispatch she observed a brush fire off of Church Road and onto Haun Road near where the Molotov cocktail bottle was located.
The HCSO detectives division is investigating that incident.
Murrell told the Times-News Monday it’s not known at this time if the incidents are related, although it’s possible.
“We’ve definitely got someone out there setting fires,” Murrell said. “So far they’ve just targeted vacant buildings and areas. But, it’s still an extremely dangerous situation, and I encourage everyone to keep a close eye out for this kind of activity and contact law enforcement if they observed any suspicious behavior.”
Anyone with information about these fires is asked to contact the HCSO at 272-4848.