HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – A string of suspicious fires is burning through one Hampton neighborhood.
Residents near Buckroe Beach reported two vehicle fires this week. It’s the same area where three suspicious bush fires were investigated by the Hampton Fire Marshal’s Office earlier this month.
Investigators have not called the cases arson because they have not been able to determine an official cause. The fires date back to mid-April, but the majority of them happened within the last month along Tappan Avenue. Investigators are mapping the fire locations to get a better look at the trend that is scaring neighbors.
“My nerves are kind of scattered because of this,” said Brandy McCarty, who woke up to a burning pampas grass bush outside her window in late May. “I’m tending to jump up at every little noise I hear outside.”
At least one other neighbor also woke up to burning bushes around the same time. Investigators classified the fires as suspicious, then everything went quiet for a few weeks, until now.
McCarty’s father’s truck is the latest target. He admits he left it unlocked.
“I saw the door cracked open, and I used my pinky and opened the door like that,” said Dick McCarty, Sr., showing how he carefully opened the door.
In the center console, McCarty found charred fast food napkins and scraps of paper that looked like they had been kindled.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” he said. “I looked in the console and there was ashes and a big hole.”
Across the street, another car was damaged by fire. The flames burned a hole through the front seat, leaving the windows so full of smoke, it is still hard to see inside.
While residents are convinced someone is setting the fires, officials are still investigating whether the vehicle fires are connected to the earlier bush fires. Residents worry the suspect will strike again soon.
“If it’s an adult, then I think they’re sick,” Brandy McCarty said. “They’re going to eventually move to houses or buildings and then someone is really going to get hurt.”
Investigators say not all of the fires were reported right away. They say some were so small residents overlooked them.
Fire officials encourage residents to call police because officers are always patrolling. Officers will contact the fire marshal’s office, as they see fit. They want to remind the public no fire is too small to report.