String Of Arson Fires Has People In Dyess, AR On Alert

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(Mississippi County, AR) People in the small Arkansas town of Dyess are on alert because a serial arsonist is on the loose.

Four homes torched in less than two months and some of the 400-people in the Mississippi County town admit they're having to sleep with one eye open.

"Yea, that's fun isn't it?" said Kerrie Thompson who is thankful she and her two baby girls are alive.

They were asleep the night of February 14th when the vacant house next door went up in flames, "I was very, very scarred. One of them's almost three and one of them's fifteen months."

Thompson says someone knocked on her front door and woke her up, but they didn't stick around, "Very suspicious that they might have started the fire and knew that we were home. And was trying to alert us that it was going to burn."

Dyess' Assistant Fire chief,  Greg Andrew,  lives right across Oak Street from the house, "We were getting ready to go to bed. I heard an explosion, I come through the house and I could see the glow."

He says it was the first in a string of intentionally set fires, putting the community in a  state of alert, "Everybody's concerned and they want to figure out what's going on. Just like anybody does."

In the past two months there have been a total of four suspicious fires, destroying each home including one off Highway 77.

It was torched April 22nd.

Two days later, a newly remodeled home on Highway 14 was turned into a pile of ashes.

Teressa Hickman and her family lived here for a few years, "I really loved living here, when I lived here, cause I liked living in the country."

She says the house was vacant and up for rent, "It's just hard to understand why people would set something on fire and burn it like that."

That's a question Assistant Chief Greg Andrew would also like answered, "It's got to stop."

Arson investigators with the State of Arkansas and the Mississippi County Sheriff are helping to find who's responsible.

If you can help, call the Sheriff's Office or the Dyess Fire Department.