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Reward offered for information on Petersburg arson

PETERSBURG, Va. – A series of house fires and car fires in the City of Petersburg have been ruled arson, the others ruled as suspicious. Firefighters are asking the public for help with answers as to whose starting the fires, and they are offering a reward.

Video shows as flames leaped to the sky at a vacant Petersburg; months later all that remains is empty lot and an arson investigation.

"We know it's always easy to determine an arson fire, what it's difficult to do is to find the culprit,” said Chief Dennis Rubin, with the Petersburg Fire Department.

Petersburg Fire investigators have their hands full.

"We're working on five structural fire investigations right now,” said Jim Reid, Petersburg Fire Marshal.

While three of the five house fires are considered arson, the other two are suspicious.

"We haven't seen a direct pattern other than all of the homes are vacant,” Rubin said.

One fire ruled arson almost took the life of two firemen, in August.

"The particular fire behind me on Dunlop Street almost cost the life of two firefighters,” Rubin said.

The arson dog out of Richmond has been used multiple times to located where accelerants were used.

"The dog has been an invaluable asset to the City of Petersburg and the region she serves,” Reid said. "In several cases there's been one or more areas that have been sent out and verified that in fact were flammable liquids in nature.”

Fire investigators are offering a reward now for information to help solve the crimes.

"So we're asking folks to take the time, because somebody knows some information about these fires and give us a tip,” Rubin said.

Anyone with information about any house fire or car fire in the City of Petersburg, can call Crime Solvers at 861-1212.