“What we are seeing is purposefully set fires,” Wilbanks said. “We don’t really know who is doing it or why.”
Three separate incidents along Clinton Highway in one night, on Dec. 9.
One fire damaged a retail building in the 5000 block of Clinton Highway, melting several plastic pallets and leaving a trail of it in the back lot. There are also several reports of large trash bins being set on fire.
Thankfully, he said, no injuries to civilian or firefighting personnel have been reported.
“One thing about Dumpster fires is that they can be particularly dangerous to the fire department because people put a lot of different things in them,” Wilbanks said. “Sometimes we find propane bottles in them and a lot of other things in them. They can be very dangerous and cause big problems for us.”
The investigation into the cause of the fires and people who may be involved is ongoing.
“Those 18 fires caused have been in encampments outside or around buildings,” said Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks, with Knoxville Fire Department.
If you know anything about the fires, investigators would like to hear from you. Contact the Knoxville Fire Department or call the State Arson Hotline at 800-762-3017. If your tip leads to a conviction, you could earn a reward.