7 Fires in 8 Days - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cairo, IL

7 Fires in 8 Days

7 Fires in 8 Days
By: Wes Wallace

CAIRO, Ill. - City leaders and residents take action after five houses, two of them occupied, a local business and a car all burned in the last eight days.

Investigators are not sure if the fires are related. The fires are all across the town.

Cairo citizens say it doesn't matter whether a building is occupied or not. If it burns down, it's a loss of part of Cairo's past, present, and future.

"It's scary, but it's scary for several reasons," said Jo Anne Vanderwerf, a Cairo resident.

The fear of yet another house fire puts her on edge.

"It's just a matter of time and someone's going to get hurt.  We have the firefighters putting their lives on the line fighting these fires more than they should have to fight," said Vanderwerf.

All day Monday investigators looked over the latest residential fire in Cairo as well as a business fire.  But they've yet to figure out what started the fires or even if they're connected. On top of that, they've got five other suspicious fires to look at.

"The fact is it did happen.  So what are we doing? We're beefing up security. Police is beefing up security.  We just have to remain vigilant," said Cairo Mayor Judson Childs.

As officials search for answers, so does Jo Anne Vanderwerf.  She was up all night on the look out.

"Basically driving around town and one of the things, wanted to keep an eye on the properties, but also to see who's out and about," said Vanderwerf.

In fact, Vanderwerf and her daughter joined together to do more than just sit back and watch what happens.

"We're offering a $1000 reward for information obviously leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is setting these fires," Vanderwerf said. "If it's one person that turns out or there's four different people involved in four different fires, then we'd do $1000 for each one."

It's an effort this Cairo resident hopes will catch on.

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