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Fires at Brandermill shopping center ruled arson: ‘It’s pretty scary’

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – About four months ago, a fire at the Wilton Square at Brandermill shopping center on Genito Road was ruled accidental and cause by an electrical short. But, two fires Sunday night and early Monday morning have now been ruled arson, according to Chesterfield fire officials.

The first call for a fire came around 10:30 p.m. Sunday after someone spotted flames.

"The tarp was ignited, and it spread into some of the second-floor area," said Lt. Elmore.

"It appears someone broke in to the second-floor of the two-story structure there and attempted to start a fire," said Rich Johnson, President of the Wiltons Company.

Then around 1:30 a.m. Monday, fire crews were called back out for a second fire.

“When our crews got on scene, both times, there was active fire," said Chesterfield Fire and EMS spokesperson Lt. Jason Elmore.

The second fire was reported on a back deck and an unoccupied business broken into, investigators said.

"They noticed that there were several points of origin around the building, some of them didn't ignite, just some scorch marks," said Lt. Elmore.

During the November fire, four businesses were displaced, and a 4500 square foot building had to be torn down.

"The original fire clearly was electrical, clearly was something that happened accidentally. The new fire, much more suspicious," said Johnson.

One small business owner at the shopping complex said the recent fires are frightening.

"It's definitely scary as a small business owner that they're doing that around here," said Kyle West, owner of Good Health Herbs.

"I don't know if they're trying to do it as a joke or what, cause it's not,” said West. “This is people’s livelihood. It's a bunch of small businesses here at the shopping center. So yeah, it's pretty scary."

Anyone with information about the fires are asked to call Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.