Hall County’s fire marshal said Friday that three separate house fires that burned at different times earlier this year in unoccupied homes in Clermont were acts of arson.
Capt. Scott Cagle said he is not ready to say the fires are connected, but "there is no doubt they are arson."
No one was injured in the fires, which destroyed two homes. Another home under construction sustained minor damage before firefighters put out the blaze.
The first fire happened Feb. 12 at a 1,200-square-foot house for sale at 7049 H. White Road. Cagle said the home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at about 3:50 a.m. The home was destroyed, with damage estimated at $180,000.
The second arson occurred about a quarter-mile from the first fire on May 17 at 6749 H. White Road. A 3,000-square-foot home under construction there had light smoke and flames showing from the second story when firefighters arrived about 11:21 p.m. The fire caused minimal damage.
The most recent arson in Clermont happened May 24 at 6475 Ransom Free Road, where an empty 2,000-square-foot home was mostly engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived shortly after 4 a.m. The home was destroyed, with the loss estimated at $240,000.
Cagle would not disclose how the fires were set, citing the ongoing investigation. He said two of the fires were set in a similar manner.
"The thing that seems to connect them right now is the hours they were set and the proximity," Cagle said. All three homes are within a mile-and-a-half radius, he said.
"We want all of the Clermont community to know what is going on and be aware," Cagle said. "First and foremost they need to be on the lookout for their own property. They should very vigilant and report any suspicions to Hall County deputies."
Cagle said investigators are looking into a report of a man seen on foot near the Ransom Free Road fire scene within 30 minutes of the blaze.
Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call the Hall County Fire Marshal’s Office at 770- 531-6838.