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Serial arsonist strikes nearly 2 dozen times in small town

December 25, 2021 GMT

NEWBURG, Mo. (AP) — Investigators in a small southern Missouri town are trying to determine the identity of a serial arsonist who is believed responsible for nearly two dozen suspicious fires.

KYTV-TV reports that 20 fires have occurred over the past three years in Newburg, a Phelps County town of fewer than 500 residents. Resident Nicole Smith said that in some cases, buildings have been set on fire and when they didn’t burn to the ground, the arsonist came back to the same structure and burned it again.

Fire Capt. Brandon Williams said some of the damaged homes were vacant, some were occupied. Grass fires have also burned.

With few leads to go on, Williams is seeking the public’s help through social media. Meanwhile, state authorities are offering a $5,000 reward for information that could help in the investigation.