Fire investigators looking into multiple Preferred Homes arsons

Fire investigators are probing a possible arson that decimated one trailer for sale at Preferred Homes Monday afternoon, a Columbus Fire & Emergency Medical Services official said Wednesday.

Fire fighters rushed to the scene around 1 p.m. Monday, after receiving reports that the trailer was on fire. An estimated $2,000 in damage was caused by the blaze, Fire Marshal Ricky Shores said.

Another trailer at the park was destroyed in the previous month, Shores said. Both cases are being investigated. Anyone with more information should contact (706) 653-3500.

Office manager Sharon Snapp said its common for juveniles to vandalize homes brought in for refurbishments. The juveniles generally enter through a hole in the fence and proceed to break into mobile homes and throw stones at the windows.

"It's an ongoing problem with the unmonitored juveniles that come over and throw stones," Snapp said.

To try and prevent vandalism, Snapp said employees pushed the now incinerated trailers against the hole in the private fence, which belongs to the nearby Springfield Apartments. Some of the apartments are within 20 feet of the trailer that was set on fire, she said.

"They were used homes, they had not been renovated yet," she said. "But the biggest issue is someone losing life or getting hurt. We don't want to lose any more homes that could be for sale, but we also don't want the kids hurt playing with matches and we don't want anyone to lose home or life there."

Snapp said she hopes that citizens in the area will contact police if they recognize anyone involved in the recent fires and vandalism cases.

"Those responsible need to be held accountable for their actions. They need to understand that this is not acceptable,"Snapp said. "That's what we're asking our community to do, is step up and work with law enforcement. We can't bring this to a stop if we don't have any witnesses."