Detectives say New Port Richey fire is suspicious

Posted at 4:41 PM, Apr 25, 2017

Firefighters called four fires in Pasco County, Tuesday afternoon, suspicious after seeing teens running away from the area.

The fires shutdown State Road 54 near Old County 54 and Mitchell Ranch Road and forced early dismissal at Seven Springs Elementary School.

"I just got out of my truck and started running," Michele Rigoglioso said.

Rigoglioso got stuck in traffic, trying to get home so she abandoned her car to run home to her kids and pets.

"We started packing up whatever we could and then the cops and fire department were all here saying it's going to be okay in 15 minutes. We'll let u know," Rigoglioso said.

There weren't any evacuations. Firefighters knew the fires were suspicious from the beginning.

"Some of the early reports are that we did have some witnesses that saw some people in the woods and when our first units arrived on the scene we did have some people running from us," Shawn Whited, Division Chief of Training for Pasco Fire Rescue said.

According to Whited, deputies detained several people for questioning.

"If they're caught they can be held responsible for all the equipment that we have provided -all of our manpower costs -all of the state's equipment and all of the state's manpower costs in reimbursements if they're caught and found guilty," Whited said.

Rigoglioso hopes kids were not behind the fires.

"I hope it's not true," she said.

There was a fire in Hudson Tuesday afternoon. Authorities said the cause of that fire is unknown.

Pasco is one of several Bay area counties under a burn ban.