Suspects still being sought in gas station fires

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Investigators are still seeking the identity of the person or people responsible for two fires involving Pure service stations recently.

During the early morning hours of Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, fires were intentionally set at gas stations located at 4111 Emory St. and at 4144 U.S. Highway 278, officials said.

"Due to the proximity of the stations and similar circumstances of the events surrounding the fires, these events are believed to be related," said Covington Police Department Detective Daniel Seals, who added the investigation is a joint effort between the CPD, the Covington Fire Department, the Georgia State Fire Marshal and the Atlanta Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The Oct. 31 fire was discovered when a passerby flagged down a CPD 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.

The officer went to the location and the building was showing flames. The officer stated in an incident report that he used a fire extinguisher on the flames on the outside of the building, but there were still flames showing on the inside. A small gallon-sized gas can was found next to the building, according to the report.

The next morning around 5 a.m., the Pure gas station at the intersection of West Street and U.S. 278 erupted in flames.

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," but by the time the fire department arrived, flames were beginning to show inside.

CFD Capt. Rob Christopher said the fires were extinguished quickly by firefighters.

The Georgia Arson Control Board and the Georgia State Fire Marshal is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Anyone with information is asked to call 800-282-5804 or 770-385-2128 or visit www.covingtonpolice.com.