Tampa Fire Rescue investigate early morning arson fire - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa Fire Rescue investigate early morning arson fire

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Tampa Police and Tampa Fire Rescue investigators are searching for a fire bug who torched a vacant house last night. Firefighters responded to the home, located at 1604 Bird Street, around 11 o'clock last night. When the first crews arrives, the home was engulfed in flames. They were able to put out the flames before they spread to any nearby structures.

Gerald Gibson lives next door the house and believes he saw the arsonist. "He had to be an arsonist. To set the fire just for the hell of it," Gibson said. "He picked up the cans to make money off the cans, but he set the fire. I don't know why the hell he set the fire."

Gibson said he recognized the man as someone who collects cans in the neighborhood, and he's upset because he believes he could've caught him. "I'm mad because I could've close lined him. I could've caught him. He rode by me on a bicycle. I could've close lined him if I'd a had a shot," he said.

Investigators spent several hours at the scene gathering evidence and working to determine where the fire started, and if the arsonist used an accelerant. "Fire investigators are actually investigating that right now," said Tampa Fire Rescue spokeswoman Debra Sue Warshefski. "There are several officers over there right now going through all the debris to look for the area where it originated and to figure out how this individual did this at this time," she said.

The arsonist is described as a white man in his 40's or 50's with scraggly hair. He was last seen wearing shorts and a trench coat, leaving the area on a bicycle. Anyone with any information on this case is urged to call the Tampa Police Department.

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