Police responded to four different fires in just over a 24-hour span this weekend.
Corey Neal, 25, of Lebanon, was arrested Monday and charged with vandalism and setting fire to personal property in relation to one of the fires.
According to police Chief Scott Bowen, the first fire was reported Saturday night a little after 8 p.m. in a yard on Trousdale Ferry Pike, followed by three fires-- – all within six hours of each other – on Sunday.
According to Bowen, the second fire happened at 7 p.m. Sunday at Buckeye Drugs and was soon followed by a report of a tire set on fire in the Lebanon Square at 10 p.m.
The final fire was set in a dumpster at the Executive Inn on South Cumberland Street just before midnight.
Bowen said Neal was only charged with the final fire in the Executive Inn dumpster.
“Officers found him in the area of the fire and were able to view surveillance video and identify him,” Bowen said. “Officer Ray Harris did awesome job in finding the suspect in the area and matching him to the fire and then finding enough evidence to charge him.”
Bowen said the dumpster fire was reported to have damage in excess of $1,000, which makes it a felony.
Still, Bowen said Neal remained a suspect in the other fires.
“He’s a person of interest in all of the fires. It definitely shows a pattern, like a trail from Trousdale Ferry Pike all the way down to where we found him at the Executive Inn,” Bowen said. “Any time folks start setting fires, it’s concerning and alarming to us, and in my experience, we’ve found normally they set more than one fire.”
Bowen said Neal was already released on $3,200 bond.
“I’m not happy about the $3,200 bond amount on the two felony charges, and he’s back on the street, which is a concern for us,” Bowen said.
Any time four fires are reported, especially in such a short span, it immediately gets the attention of authorities, and unfortunately they have to deal with people setting fires every few years, Bowen said.
“It’s very alarming, but the biggest thing – well, we’re concerned about property damage, obviously – but we’re more concerned about the safety of citizens,” Bowen said. “These fires are putting others lives in jeopardy: officers, firemen and citizens.
“Damage in personal property is bad enough, but putting peoples lives in danger is really bad,” Bowen said.