More than 20 arson fires have been set in a span of less than three weeks, leaving local fire departments rushing to keep up. Many of the blazes have been set in the same locations; 12 have been set at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness on Mohawk Trail in Gulf Breeze.
Other state agencies are now involved in what is now an escalating pattern of deliberate fire-setting, including the Department of Agriculture which is investigating the fires that occur in the wooded areas.
“We have increased our presence in that area,” said Joe Zwierzchowski, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist with the Florida Forest Service. “The majority of (the fires) we’ve been able to trace them all to one source and one pattern and right now we have an arson alert program in effect.”
For more on this story, see the September 1 issue of the Navarre Press or subscribe online.