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CFD investigates two 'suspicious' fires

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON — The Covington Fire Department is looking into two gas station fires, which they are calling "suspicious," that occurred over the weekend.

CFD Capt. Rob Christopher said arson investigators are still going through evidence at both fire scenes to determine for sure if the fires were deliberately set.

The first fire was reported shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday when a passerby flagged down a Covington Police Department officer and told him he had just seen a black man set fire to the Pure gas station near the intersection of Emory Street and Old Atlanta Highway.

In a CPD incident report, the officer said he went to the scene and called dispatch to tell them the west side of the building was showing flames.

"A second male was sitting at the stop sign at Old Atlanta Highway and Emory Street and exited his vehicle and ran back to my patrol car. The male advised that he saw a black male running down Old Atlanta Highway towards West Street and advised he was wearing a dark color sweat shirt and blue jeans," the report states.

The officer stated he used a fire extinguisher on the flames on the outside of the building, but there were still flames showing on the inside of the building. The report also states that a small gas can was found next to the building.

The fire was quickly extinguished by CFD firefighters.

The second suspicious fire erupted about 5 a.m. Monday morning at the Pure gas station at the intersection of West Street and U.S. Highway 278.

Again, a passerby notified the CPD of the fire and the man reporting it said he was driving south on West Street when he noticed two small fires at the rear of the gas station.

According to the CPD incident report, "(The passerby) stated he called 911 and attempted to put the fire out with windshield wiper fluid," the report states, adding that by the time the fire department arrived at the scene, flames were beginning to show inside.

"There was minimal damage. We had a very quick response and extinguished the fire rapidly," Christopher said.

Christopher urged anyone with information regarding these incidents to contact the CFD at 770-385-2100 or call the Arson Hotline at 800-282-5804. Rewards of up to $10,000 are given for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist. Calls are taken 24 hours a day and callers can choose to remain anonymous.