Suspected serial arsonist under arrest - - Jackson, MS

Suspected serial arsonist under arrest

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By Marsha Thompson - bio | email

VICKSBURG, MS (WLBT) - A former volunteer firefighter remains behind bars Thursday, and WLBT has startling new information about his alleged involvement.

The corner of Second North street is a burned out vision of its former self. Up until January 25, 2010, there was a 50-year-old neighborhood store on the corner with houses on either side. A frightening night, with an arsonist on the loose. "A lot of people saying basically Vicksburg is on fire." That was the Police Chief Walter Armstrong describing the scene and fears that evening.

Leroy Evans served as a former volunteer firefighter in Utica some five years ago. Now, the one-time fireman is an accused firebug according to the State Fire Marshal's Office. "Bottom line is we have taken this individual off the streets so he won't continue doing these sorts of things," said Chief Armstrong.  The State Fire Marshal's Office said Evans is charged with eight counts of arson. Two more counts are pending following his confession. 

Why would a former firefighter allegedly torch so many buildings? Evans' motive remains unclear; but, we have learned of a startling new development. In most cases, criminals try to get as far from the crime scene as possible, but  that was not the case in this scenario.

Leroy Evans watched the buildings go up in flames and even offered to help extinguish the massive blaze. That's what happened according to the chief.  He said Leroy Evans was on the scene.

WLBT asked if he (Evans) wanted to help put out the fire that he allegedly started.

"Absolutely he offered to help in all kinds of ways," said Chief Armstrong.

Following an intense investigation, state and local officials arrested the small town former  volunteer fireman Tuesday in hopes that Vicksburg's mysterious arsons dating back 10 years have been doused for good. 

Evans remains behind bars Thursday on a $2,500 bond. The investigation is on-going.

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