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String Of Suspected Arsons In Hampshire County Leads To Investigation

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A string of suspected arson fires in Hampshire County has led to an investigation by the state Fire Marshal’s office.

Five fires happened mostly along Route 50 Thursday evening into Friday morning, all affecting vacant buildings within a 10 mile stretch between Augusta and Capon Bridge.

Two similar fires were reported in the same general area on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4.

Chief investigator Jason Baltic says the investigation points to all of the fires being linked.

“Two of the scenes, we’re able to say that they’re incendiary fires, that they were arson,” Baltic said. “The others, we’re still working on.”

Another site of a potential arson was discovered Friday evening, bringing the total number of potentially linked fires to eight, though investigators are unsure when exactly the fire occurred.

Among the buildings burnt down was Hook’s Tavern, an 18th century building used during the Civil War to house Confederate soldiers. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

No deaths or injuries as a result of the fires have been reported.

The Fire Marshal’s office is currently working with the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia Fusion Center in the investigation.

“We’re developing a lot of evidence, putting a lot of things together,” Baltic said. “And hopefully we’ll have an arrest forthcoming.”

Any information about the incidents can be reported to the West Virginia Fire Marshal Hotline at 1-800-233-3473.