FISHHAWK, Fla — Homes in a brand new neighborhood have been set on fire, and the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Department believes it’s intentional.
The first fire happened July 1 at a home under construction in the Enclave at Channing Park Subdivision on Bright Wheat Drive. The second fire was in a dumpster with construction materials.
A few days later on July 17, a second house was set on fire from the inside on Bright Wheat Drive and two days after that another home was set on fire from the inside on Buckingham Garden Drive.
Investigators think they are all being set by the same person or people because of the close proximity and time frame of the fires.
The most recent house on Buckingham Garden drive was nearly finished but now crews have to redo work that's already been done. They have to replace the ductwork and insulation plus clean up smoke damage.
"It's really kind of selfish you know, they're damaging somebody's property,” said Jeanette Scott, a neighbor that lives down the street.
She says it's all neighbors can talk about. The damage totals $25,000.
"It could be a big fire and jump to a permanent residence,” said Scott.
The neighborhood is an add-on to a subdivision already there. Jeanette fears homes with people living in them could be another target.
"It makes people scared and insecure and there's no good reason for it,” she said.
Each fire started while the sun was down. The building company is setting up security and cameras to keep a close eye on any future incidents. Jeanette says neighbors are also being vigilant.
Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the identification and arrest of the unknown suspect(s) involved in these cases. Anyone with any information regarding the identity of the suspect(s) and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com, or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile application. Crime Stoppers must be contacted first in order to be eligible for a cash reward.