Investigators consider similarities, possible connection in arson cases

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Over the weekend, Orlando saw a rash of what's believed to be arson fires.

Earlier this summer in St. Augustine, four buildings were burned in one night.

Some St. Augustine residents are wondering if the possible arsons in Central Florida are connected to those in St. Augustine.

Carol Lopez-Bradshaw lives just two doors down from one of the arson sites in St. Augustine on Saragossa Street.

Related: Arson suspected in multiple St. Augustine fires

The four suspicious fires in St. Augustine were within a mile of each other and burned within hours of each other in late June. Since then, Lopez-Bradshaw says her neighbors are more cautious.

"A lot more people have more lights, motion detectors, and cameras," she said.

Lopez-Bradshaw is a former fire inspector of 20 years, and she took notice when six buildings in Sanford burned in July. Arson is suspected.

"That kind of caught my eye when they had one in Sanford that followed the same pattern," she remembered.

Now she's especially curious, because Orlando saw four suspicious fires this weekend in four hours in the downtown area.

The Orlando Fire District Chief, Matt Negedly, told First Coast News there are similarities between the Orlando and Sanford fires, but he would not elaborate. He said Orlando Fire investigators are working closely with the State Fire Marshal's Office, which is investigating Sanford's and St. Augustine's arsons. They want to know if there are any connections or similarities between the fires in the three cities.

Lopez-Bradshaw offered her idea on the issue, "This is just my opinion. I don't think it was a local person doing it."

Using her 20 years as a fire inspector, she has a theory about the culprit or culprits.

"I think they found out it worked. They got away with it somewhere and they could be traveling around doing it… far enough away that no one is putting it together," Lopez-Bradshaw said.

If you have any information that could help investigators, call the arson hotline: 1-877-NO-ARSON.


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