Investigators suspect arson, call four recent fires in Orting area suspicious

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ORTING, Wash. — A string of suspicious fires in Pierce County has neighbors on edge and authorities looking for a possible arsonist.

A home under construction on Gipple Street in the River’s Edge development burst into flames early Tuesday morning; officials said it could be related to several other fires in the area.

All that’s left of the home on Gipple Street is a pile of charred rubble. Investigators believe the unfinished home was deliberately set on fire.

“We are concerned and we are asking for the public’s help,” said Orting Valley Fire and Rescue Chief Zane Gibson, “If you see something, say something.”

But it’s not just on Gipple Street -- barely six miles away on 177th Street a trailer also caught fire only hours before.

Officials are calling four blazes suspicious, including a barn that burned in October on Leach Road and another home that caught fire in July on Voss Street.

Investigators said they’ve been tracking developments for months.

Federal ATF agents are part of the investigation, and the Pierce County Fire Marshal is looking to see if more than 20 other fires in and around Orting could be connected.

Tuesday’s fire happened right in the middle of a new housing development. Neighbors worry what could happen if officials don’t make an arrest soon.

“As long as they don’t get into occupied homes, that would be absolutely terrible if they moved up,” said Boyd Zabriskie. “Normally that’s what arsonists do, too. They keep on escalating.”

A $10,000 reward is being offered for information that leads investigators to a suspect.

The fires have so far not caused any injuries but officials and neighbors worry someone could get injured if  they continue.

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