Investigators say a recent rash of fires in Cuyahoga Valley National Park appears to be deliberate. As ideastream’s Brian Bull reports, officials want tips on who may be responsible…and are offering a cash reward.
There have been eight suspicious fires reported in the last six months. Half were grass fires, while the others were two residences, a barn, and the tracks for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
The most recent incident was at a Peninsula home on Stanford Road last Wednesday. It was a residence owned by the National Park Service, and was possibly going to be turned into office space when the arsonist struck.
Mary Pat Doorley is a spokeswoman for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. She says all the fires may be related, and all happened largely in less active areas.
“There are pockets in the park that are extremely remote and off the beaten path," says Doorley. "And once it’s discovered by some folks in the world of vandalism, and arson, it just engages them to want to do something to those remote areas.”
Doorley says two groups, the Summit County Crime Stoppers group and the Blue Ribbon Arson Committee are collectively offering $7,000 reward money for tips that’ll lead to an arrest of those responsible for the fires.
“The ability for people to come forward to say “I noticed something odd”, or “I saw something that looked different”. If you have any thought like that, that’s what we want to hear.”
There have been many local, state, and federal agencies involved in the case, including six regional fire departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.