6 structures burn down in Union County in one week

6 structures burn down in Union County in one week, authorities suspect arson

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This is one of six structures that was recently burnt down. This is one of six structures that was recently burnt down.
Ted Seal's barn was demolished in the flames this morning. Ted Seal's barn was demolished in the flames this morning.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

MAYNARDVILLE (WATE) - Authorities in Union County are asking for the community's help in finding a suspected arsonist.

In the last week alone, six different structures, including barns and empty homes, have been burned to the ground, two of them just hours apart Saturday morning.

The Northeast Union Fire Departments says the nature of the fires is so similar, they believe they have all been set by the same person.

Union County resident Ted Seal has lived here for more than 70 years.

His barn was one of the two torched this morning, filled with lumber and a newly refurbished tractor.

He can't understand why someone would do this.

"That's a lifetime of work here. We're looking at a very easy mark of $45,000 or $50,000 loss," said Seal.

Just 10 minutes down the road, another barn lies is ruins, this one belonging to the family of Virginia Vancel, of Maynardville.

Her daughter-in-law woke her up around 2 a.m.

"She came in my bedroom and said get up, call 911, the barn's on fire," said Vancel.

This family lost thousands of dollars of stored possessions, deliberately torched, just a stones throw from the house.

"That makes me feel uneasy, I mean that could have very well spread and got the house and everything else," said Vancel.

The fire department has two major concerns.

The two blazes set this morning were less than 100 feet from area homes, and they're afraid the fire could have spread to them.

No one has been injured in these fires, but they're also afraid someone could be inside one of these structures at the time another fire is started.

"Whoever's doing that could have got caught in it themselves, ya know," said Vancel.

Six structures total were set on fire this week; three barns, two empty mobile homes and one abandoned house.

The fire departments says they were all fast-burning, all in the early morning and all in unattended structures.

"We suspect somebody is setting these because it's just too much of a coincidence," said Northeast Union Fire Department Fire Chief Gordon Sartain.

They want to catch whoever is starting these fires, which have stretched all across Union County.

"It's costing the community. It's costing the fire departments. It's costing everybody," said Sartain.

 They're asking anyone with information to come forward.

"Right now we're just depending on the community. If they know anything, let us know," said Sartain.

"Be on the lookout or have a neighbor lookout. But still it's hard to catch somebody that means to do evil," said Seal.

The fire department is still investigating how the fires were actually set.

They say the locations appear to be random.

If you have any information, call Union County dispatch at 865-992-4062.

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