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franklin county times

Arson suspect being held

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
March 2, 2001
Meridian Police Chief Gregg Lewis said the man investigators believe set fire in recent months to a number of vacant houses is currently undergoing mental evaluation.
Lewis and Meridian Fire Chief Bunky Partridge said Thursday they had solved a recent rash of house fires but declined to provide further information about the case.
Lewis said he was reluctant to talk about the suspect because the man has been committed to a mental institution for evaluation and feared he might compromise the man's privacy.
Meanwhile, an investigation into the Meridian's most recent suspected arson at 2813 Ninth St. continues today.
Partridge said members of the Arson Task Force spent Thursday collecting evidence and interviewing neighbors. Such an investigation could take up to to six weeks, he said, depending on several factors.
Firefighters arrived on the Ninth Street scene early Thursday morning to find the house fully involved. A home south of the house was spared; the home directly to its east was scorched lightly.
The house, owned by Harry Nause, also caught fire in October and received moderate damage. That fire was ruled accidental, Partridge said.
Partridge said he believes Thursday's house fire is unrelated to the others that have taken place since Dec. 5.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.
The following suspected arsons have been reported to Meridian police and fire departments since Dec. 5:
Dec. 5 3939 1/2 Vally St., 3817 South St., 3826 Hooper St.
Dec. 14 4013 South St., 405 40th Ave.
Jan. 12 511 Martin Luther King Drive, 3117 Fifth St.
Jan. 15 329 43rd Ave.
Feb. 14 1923 33rd Ave.
Feb. 28 2813 Ninth St.