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Suspicious fires on Nations Ford Road deemed arson

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TWC News: Suspicious fires on Nations Ford Road deemed arson
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CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte Fire Department is investigating a string of arsons in southwest Charlotte.

Two homes and a storage shed were set on fire around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, just yards away from each other, along Nations Ford Road.

"Well, we just clean up and go on, what else can you do?" said Floyd Smith. He says the properties have been in his family's name for decades.

"I just hope they catch who did it," he said.

Investigators are looking for a person of interest in the case, spotted just outside the scene as first responders arrived. He's described as a Hispanic or black male, about 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9, weighing around 120 pounds. Police say he has a sunken face and may stutter. He left the area riding a black mountain bike.

This is the second rash of arsons along Nations Ford Road this year, although investigators haven't determined if they're connected. In January, firefighters fought five intentionally set fires at a used tire store and a number of nearby dumpsters.

As police continue to search for suspects in both cases, fire officials urge neighbors to be on the lookout.

"Could it happen again? Very much so," said Chief Fire Investigator Paul Wilkinson. "We don't know what's in the mind of the fire setter and that's what makes this such a tough crime to investigate."

One firefighter at the scene was injured when a piece of sheetrock fell on his head. He was wearing his helmet so he was OK. He was transported as a precaution and released.

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