‘Our sense of se­cu­rity is gone’

Garbage fires set in down­town Or­lando neigh­bor­hoods reach at least 11

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By Ryan Gille­spie

The tow­er­ing flames had al­ready be­gun burn­ing his new pickup truck and fence when Christo­pher Ross rushed out­side Thurs­day morn­ing af­ter hear­ing the crack­ling.

He was able to douse the flames with a hose, sav­ing his Colo­nial­town home from dam­age — though he hasn’t slept since.

“It was scary,” Ross said Fri­day. “I thought it was go­ing to come to the house. I thought the truck was go­ing to be set ablaze worse.”

It’s at least the 11th fire in the past week in down­town Or­lando neigh­bor­hoods. Fire of­fi­cials said each blaze has started in a garbage can, a re­cy­cle bin or a dump­ster and ap­pear to be con­nected.

Thus far the depart­ment hasn’t pub­licly iden­ti­fied a sus­pect but hopes neigh­bors with sur­veil­lance cam­eras may have cap­tured re­veal­ing footage.

Nessie, the ar­son team’s ca­nine, in­ves­ti­gated the fire at Ross’ home, Or­lando Fire Depart­ment spokes­woman Ash­ley Pa­pagni said.

Some fires have been deemed mis­chief, while oth­ers have been clas­si­fied as ar­son.

On Thurs­day night, a fire on Lucerne Ter­race off Ka­ley Street sparked up and ap­peared to be re­lated. Fri­day morn­ing, in­ves­ti­ga­tors were called about 6 a.m. to one on An­nie Street near Orange Av­enue.

Ross said he hopes the per­pe­tra­tor or per­pe­tra­tors are caught soon be­fore more dam­age is in­flicted.

“Our sense of se­cu­rity is gone,” said Ross, a fa­ther of three. “My truck is dev­as­tated. Christ­mas is go­ing to be a rough one.”

The first four blazes oc­curred be­tween the night of Nov. 29 and the morn­ing of Nov. 30 in Lake Eola Heights garbage re­cep­ta­cles.

The next day, two more fires were in­ves­ti­gated in the Colo­nial­town neigh­bor­hood just to the east.

Fire vic­tims and neigh­bors were wor­ried that the fires — which had caused mi­nor dam­age

RYAN GILLE­SPIE/OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL

Christo­pher Ross piled up charred fence af­ter his garbage can and truck were set ablaze.

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