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Accomack County Experiences Another Suspicious Fire

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The Whispering Pines Motel smolders after being razed by an arsonist.
Bryan Russo
The Whispering Pines Motel smolders after being razed by an arsonist.

Another suspicious fire has taken place in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. If investigators classify the fire as arson, it will mark the 74th such fire since last November.

Many of the old farmhouses being targeted are used only during the summer by visitors or migrant workers who harvest and pack produce. State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Michelle Anaya says the arsons happen at night, and neighbors live a mile or more away from each other making it difficult to see anyone suspicious.

"There's over 700 abandoned buildings in just the Accomack County area," she says. "We're looking at over 400 square miles."

Much of the evidence is either burned or washed away by fire hoses. But investigators do have the beginnings of a profile.

"This person or persons are very familiar with the territory; they are very familiar with the abandoned buildings," says. "They basically just drop in out of nowhere and then they disappear."

The tiny coastal community is concerned with what may be targeted next.

"There is some type of scare because they're afraid it's going to go to structures or houses where people do live," says Anaya. "They're afraid that the arsonists are going to escalate."

While neighboring counties have similar dilapidated and uninhabited structures, only Accomack County has been targeted by arsonists.

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