Residents concerned as string of abandoned house fires hits close to home

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Three fires in four days have been reported in Clarksburg.
Abandoned homes along Monticello Ave and Summit Court caught fire earlier this week, and were deemed suspicious.

The latest fire was a vacant rental property on West Virginia Ave, and the childhood home of owner Sabrina, who says the area has changed for the worse.

"Our neighborhood is, because we have some many loiterers, people walking around with backpacks and stuff all hours of the night," said Sabrina. "I live on 14th Street and it's really bad. I get woken up by my dogs barking because they're out there on your grass."

All three fires are still under investigation, so a cause has not yet been given. But Sabrina and her family, who own multiple rental properties through Clarksburg, say they will be taking steps to make sure something like this never happens again.

"We have multiple properties and the only thing we can think of is getting cameras. We'll have to do cameras or do something because your properties aren't safe anymore."

Lieutenant Walter Knight with the Clarksburg Fire Department says the city's vagrant population takes advantage of empty homes, especially when weather can become cold and rainy.

If residents have abandoned homes in their neighborhood, Lt. Knight says to keep a close eye on them.

"If you see people that you're not used to seeing in the neighborhood then pay attention to things like that," said Lt. Knight. "If they do see someone messing around, especially later hours of the evening, if they feel it's a problem call 911 so they can check it out."

Now, Sabrina and her family are working with a home they say is a total loss, and hope the string of fires will come to an end.

"I just hope that they catch who is doing this because it's sad for people to go around destroying other people's properties," said Sabrina. "It's just not fair. Not fair at all."