Shelby fire chief’s home set ablaze, potential arsonist on the loose

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SHELBY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- A potential arsonist is on the loose in Shelby, and one of the intentionally set fires was lit at the fire chief’s home.

Investigators are now worried the next fire will be worse than the one before.

There have been a series of suspicious fires of different types and sizes lately in Shelby. The fire chief tells FOX 46 there is cause for concern and everyone should be watching and be vigilant.

“I opened the door and saw a lot of orange and looked down through the rest of the living room and saw that the curtains were on fire. That’s when I pulled the bedroom door back closed and I alerted my wife that the house was on fire and we needed to get the kids out and evacuate the house,”  Chief William Hunt said.

Shelby’s police and fire departments are investigating a potential serial arsonist. A rash of suspicious fires have sparked over the past several weeks across west Shelby. The latest fire happening at the fire chief’s home while he and his family were asleep inside. 

“It’s one thing to go to somebody else’s home and you have compassion for them and you’re doing your work, doing your job. It’s a total different thing when it’s affecting you, it’s hitting you especially at 1:00 in the morning and you’re still processing everything,” Chief Hunt said.

Fortunately, everyone made it out safely and the damage was contained to the front of the historic home.

Chief Hunt doesn’t believe his home was targeted calling it a coincidence even though the nearest fire department was on another call at the exact same time.

“The stations from across town were having to come to this fire because the closet fire station which is about three blocks from my house was on another fire at the same time and then a local volunteer fire department also responded too.”

Officials, concerned the fires will get bigger in size and scope – are developing a timeline for recent fires in trashcans, cars, a church bus and a building, all within two square miles.

“Somebody’s going to get killed if it keeps going on. We were close to it.”

Given the circumstances, the county fire marshal was called in to investigate the fire at Chief Hunt’s house.

Chief Hunt is reminding the community to make sure you have working smoke detectors, batteries and an exit plan. He says that saved his family’s life.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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