(SPOKANE, Wash.) — Fire officials in Washington state suspect an arsonist is responsible for igniting 23 fires in the past few weeks, including one that burned through eight acres and put Spokane County residents on edge.
Nearly all of the fires happened in the Greenacres area. Most were small brush fires, but several homes have been threatened, ABC News affiliate KXLY reported.
“We’re blessed that nobody has been injured yet, but that’s just a matter of time,” Greenacres resident Carolyn Staples told KXLY.
Two of the fires were set in vacant model homes. The first blaze was the Saltese Lake Fire on Sept. 18.
Officials have asked the public to be vigilant, report any suspicious persons and keep an eye on their security cameras.
The hunt for an arsonist was a personal mission for one Spokane firefighter.
Greg Godfrey, an assistant chief of Spokane County Fire District #8, worked in California when a fellow firefighter was convicted of setting about 2,000 fires in the Los Angeles area in the 1980s and 1990s. John Orr, who was a captain and arson investigator at the Glendale Fire Department, is now serving life in prison.
“The fire department is a family,” Godfrey told KXLY. “We’re a very tight-knit group of individuals. We have to trust each other.
“He betrayed that,” Godfrey added. “He put our people in jeopardy.”
One of the California fires killed four people, but Godfrey hopes officials catch the Washington arsonist before anyone gets hurt.
“We’ve been lucky,” he told the station. “We’ve had small fires and one that started to get big, but we’ve been extremely lucky.”
Spokane County Fire District officials did not immediately return a call from ABC News.
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