Centre Fire Chief Kevin Ware came to see me several weeks ago and informed me that we have had a total of 13 suspicious fires in Cherokee County in recent months, all of which have occurred in one general area-in and around, Gossett Street in Centre, ODell stated. Kevin went on to explain that at least six of those fires have been confirmed as arson. We both felt that with the limited information that fire investigators have been able to uncover, a reward might help generate information from the public.
According to the Proclamation, the reward is being offered to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s) of these arsons, provided that he, she or they have not been arrested at the time of the issuance of this proclamation, and entitlement to this reward shall include only private citizens and shall not include members of any government law enforcement agency or their blood relatives.
Centre Fire Chief Kevin Ware said the investigation is at somewhat of a standstill, and the reward comes at an opportune time. Things have gotten pretty quiet in this investigation, Ware said. We have exhausted all of our leads, and we are certainly grateful to the Governor for getting involved by issuing the reward. We can only hope that the reward will generate some interest and information that will bring us closer to solving these cases. The arson investigations are on-going, and anyone with information concerning the fires are encouraged to contact the Centre Fire Department at 927-3333, or contact Centre Investigator Arlon Reed at 927-3661.
When Chief Ware asked me to request the reward on behalf of the City, I was somewhat skeptical that we would be successful. Rewards of this nature are usually reserved for violent offenses such as child abuse and homicide, ODell pointed out. Governor Riley has been an advocate for community safety, statewide, and his willingness to issue this reward is consistent with that commitment. We are all grateful for his willingness to help us out in this manner.