11/26/13 — Investigators suspect arson

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Investigators suspect arson

By John Joyce
Published in News on November 26, 2013 1:46 PM

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A vacant house at 405 S. John St. was gutted by fire on Sunday. Firefighters have labeled the blaze as suspicious. It was one of three vacant houses to burn over the weekend.

The Goldsboro Fire Department extinguished three house fires this weekend that were later deemed suspicious and are now being investigated with the help of the State Bureau of Investigation, Goldsboro Fire Chief Gary Whaley said.

He would not go so far as to say the fires were connected.

"All three fires started in pretty much the same location in each of the abandoned homes," Whaley said.

Each of the three fires was started just before dawn -- the first came Saturday, followed by two more Sunday, according to a series of Goldsboro police reports.

A vacant residence at 113 W Pine St. was ablaze at 5:54 a.m. Saturday when firefighters arrived. The home, belonging to Jadie Lee Wilson, 53, 414 Herman St., had been unoccupied for more than a year, according to the report. The home sustained an estimated $20,000 in damage.

Sunday at 5:11 a.m., and then again at 6:30 a.m., the same scenario played out at homes at 405 S. John St., owned by Andre Mickens, 35, and 111 N. Kornegay St., owned by Leonard Dale Sumlin, 63, respectively.

Each of the torched residences was unoccupied and owned by Goldsboro residents who still live in the area. Each also had damages estimated at $20,000.

Whaley was hesitant to provide further details as the investigation is ongoing. He did say that for a fire to be determined an arson, certain criteria have to be met.

The Goldsboro Police Department did not return phone calls regarding the investigation.

The SBI visited both of the homes burned Sunday, Whaley said. He was not sure if they had been to the location burned on Saturday.