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West Tampa arsons have neighbors on alert

Tampa Police stepping up night time patrols
Posted at 5:53 PM, Jun 23, 2017

"This is serious," said Miguel Flores 

Neighbors aren't sleeping at night. 

"I got my house over here. I don't want nothing to happen to my house," said Flores.

Many in this West Tampa neighborhood are retired, their homes paid for and don't have home insurance.

A fire, they say, would be a devastating loss. 

"I think it's shameless because people have been living out here for years and years and years," said Bessie Williamson.

Williamson worries about her neighbors. 

Investigators say there have been three arsons in the last week...two homes and a car set ablaze.

The first arson happened at 3903 West Palmetto Street on June 17 at 1:42 a.m. where a Dodge Neon was set on fire.

The second arson occurred at 3909 West Palmetto Street at 12:23 a.m. Monday morning where an elderly woman got out OK.

The latest arson happened this morning at 2:11 a.m. at 2309 North Harold Avenue where a trash can fire spread to the home.

RELATED: Tampa Fire Arson investigating third suspicious fire in Tampa neighborhood

An 86-year-old woman was at home when investigators say someone set a futon on fire in her yard and burnt part of her house.

RELATED: Arsonist set 86-year-old woman's house on fire

"I hope they catch whoever's doing it, you know, and I'm sure in time they will. Something will come up," said Eugene Gimblet. 

She had to move out after an estimated $40,000 in damage. 

Her neighbor Eugene Gimblet is now on high alert at night and so are police and the Fire Marshall's Office.

"It's never normal to have this many fires in one area so it concerns us," said Supervising Fire Investigator MIke Zurla.

Investigators are asking neighbors to call their tip line at 813-232-6805 with anything suspicious. A reward is possible for tips that lead to an arrest. 

Williamson says she's also doing her part.

"Constantly pray for my neighborhood, area, everybody that things won't get any worse and that this will stop and they will find out who's doing it," she said.