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POLICE, FIRE SERVICES LOOKING FOR ARSONIST

April 5, 2001 – After three consecutive days of "deliberately" set brush fires on St. Croix, police and Fire Services officials have begun a joint investigation to find the culprit or culprits.
Police Commissioner Franz Christian said his department has received information that a male individual is responsible for the rash of fires that have blackened about 300 acres on the east end of St. Croix since Monday.
Last month, fires scorched about twice that amount of land. No injuries or major property damage resulted from the fires.
Christian didn’t say whether police know the suspected arsonist’s identity or whereabouts.
"The fire department has been successful in extinguishing these fires without injury to their men or serious property damage," Christian said. "However, it is imperative to note that such wanton acts shall not be tolerated…"
On Tuesday, fires broke out in the hilly Recovery Welcome-Peter’s Farm area, the same estates –– along with a fire in Gallows Bay –– that charred some 250 acres on Monday. Those fires followed blazes last week that burned more than 600 acres in Estates Boetzberg, Lowry Hill and Marienhoj.
Although some rain fell on St. Croix Thursday, the island, particularly the normally dry east end, has had no appreciable precipitation in the last three months. Fire Service officials say that while the dry, hot weather can spark a fire by the magnification of the sun on a discarded bottle, the number of blazes and their proximity to one another are suspicious.
Christian said anyone caught setting fires will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Individuals with information about the fires are urged to call 778-2211 exts 4530/4532 or 911.

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