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Suspect held in series of Naha arsons

Date Posted: 2002-11-24

Naha Police has reportedly held a workless man on suspicion of setting fire at least to six houses on separate occasions in Naha area. The suspicious fires have occurred since Nov. 12. The break in the case came Nov. 17 when a witness called the police after spotting a man trying to set a cardboard box on fire. The police arrested the man identified as a 38-year-old former restaurant owner whose business went bust. Police continues to grill the man who so far is denying the charge.

Based on similarities in each case, police has suspected that one person is responsible for all fires. They have repeatedly warned local residents and urged them to be vigilant and report any suspicious person they see in their neighborhood. In Naha’s Nishimachi where most of the fires occurred, local restaurant owners together with personnel from the local fire station started nightly patrols in the area.

Fire officials say that all fires were started with piling old trash, newspapers and cardboard boxes in front of the houses and then setting them on fire. No gasoline or oil was used. “Fire in this area is especially dangerous as the buildings are old and made largely of wooden structures. If the fire gets out of hand we could have very serious situation in our hands very quickly,” a spokesman for Naha Fire Department said.

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