A series of suspicious structure fires in the Houston county town of Ashford has led law enforcement officials and firefighters to ask for the public's help in the investigation.
On Friday, September 18, at 6:56 p.m., the Ashford Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire at 115 First Avenue in Ashford. The fire was extinguished at the point of origin, a couch inside the residence. However, the next morning, Saturday, the 19th, at 5:26 a.m., firefighters responded to the same address and this time the residence was "totally engulfed in flame and was totally destroyed," according to investigators with the Alabama State Fire Marshal's Office. No one was at home at the time of the fire(s) and no injuries were reported.
On Sunday, September 27 and Monday the 28th, firefighters were called to Palmer Townhouses on Old Highway 84 East in Ashford to extinguish more fires which have been determined to have been intentionally set. At 2:42 a.m., Sunday morning (927), a trash can and a youth basketball goal were extinguished at the townhouse complex. Sunday afternoon at 12:40 p.m., Ashford firefighters returned to the townhouses to an apartment fire which had been set on the East side of the structure. Damage to the vacant apartment was reported to be moderate. At 12:56 a.m. Monday morning (9/28), the fire department was again called to extinguish a blaze at Palmer Townhouses, this time at a storage shed behind the complex where a fire had been started next to the ground and the damage was kept to a minimum. During the ensuing investigation at the townhouses, sites were discovered where at least one other fire was set but didn't have enough fuel load to burn. Damage was minor.
The Ashford Police and Volunteer Fire Departments along with the Alabama State Fire Marshal's Office are investigating these fires. Anyone who may have information which might be helpful in the investigation is urged to contact the Alabama Arson Hotline at 1-800-654-0775 or the City of Ashford Police Department at (334) 899-5113. You may also report suspected arson at the Alabama Department of Insurance website, http://www.aldoi.gov/.