Police still checking into arsons
by Paul Darst
GALLIPOLIS - State and local law enforcement officers are continuing to investigate a string of arsons that have plagued the area in recent months.
Gallipolis City Police and Volunteer Fire Department officials have been joined by two Ohio Fire Marshal's Office investigators on the case, said Lt. Keith Elliott, of the city police department.
The investigators remain hopeful that somebody will come forward with information that will lead to an arrest and conviction in the case, Elliott said.
“We've received several tips, and we're in the process of following up on them,” Elliott said. “As of right now, we having nothing to move forward with.”
The last fire in Gallipolis that was ruled arson happened on Jan. 11, when two unoccupied buildings on Second Avenue were destroyed. That fire damaged the adjacent Wiseman Insurance Agency building on the corner of Second Avenue and Court Street.
During the latter half of 2005, Gallipolis Volunteer Fire Department firefighters responded to several other fires that were ruled arsons.
To help investigators generate leads in the cases, the Ohio Blue Ribbon Arson Committee is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person responsible for the fires.
Information about the fires can be passed along by calling 446-1313. Those calling that number will speak to a Gallia County 9-1-1 operator and can leave information anonymously, Elliott said.
Those who do not wish to remain anonymous can call Detective Sgt. Jeff Boyer directly at 441-6017.
Officials have made the arson case a high priority, Elliott said. Two investigators and a supervisor with the state fire marshal's office have been to town on several occasions to work on the case, he said.
But they need help from the public, Elliott said.
“Somebody out there has to have seen something,” Elliott said.
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