Arson suspected in Thanksgiving Day fires

Published 8:40 am Monday, November 30, 2015

Star Photo/Rebekah Price

Star Photo/Rebekah Price

The Tennessee Division of Forestry is attributing the causes of two Thursday fires off Railroad Grade Road in Roan Mountain to arson. They reportedly began approximately one quarter of a mile apart and grew together, ultimately engulfing 42-43 acres and took nearly 12 hours to contain.
“It was not near any residences, and with no other means for them to ignite, so we believe someone must have started them,” said Tennessee Forestry Technician James Heaton.
Forestry technicians and Roan Mountain volunteer firefighters worked from 4 a.m. Thursday morning to about 3 p.m. establishing a fire line, which is a clearing over which fire typically does not burn.
After the blaze was finally contained, Heaton said they had people staff it overnight on Thanksgiving evening and through the morning and day Friday.
“It is contained, though some places in the interior are still smoking,” said Heaton. “There is currently no threat from these fires.”
No one was injured, and no property was damaged, reports Heaton.
Anyone with information regarding the cause of the fire should call 1-800-762-3017. Heaton said rewards may be available for information pertaining to this or other suspicious fires.

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