Police investigating string of arson fires in Gastonia

GASTONIA, N.C. — Gastonia police are investigating three car fires, a dumpster fire and two brush fires this week.

Some people told Channel 9′s Gaston County reporter Ken Lemon, they’re sleeping in shifts to make sure nothing else is set ablaze.

Fire Investigators said it’s dry enough right now for a spark to cause a fire -- and that might explain the two brush fires, but it doesn’t explain what happened to Heather Wilson’s car.

Wilson said she woke up Tuesday night and her car was in flames.

“I just broke down,” she said. “I was crying.”

The car is insured but insurance can’t replace the feeling of security she once had.

There were two small brush fires apparently set near her home at the Mill Creek Apartment complex and someone also set a dumpster on fire.

“There is a psycho running around out there,” she said.

Wilson said she and her husband now sleep in shifts.

They sent their 7 and 10-year-old children to live with other family members because Wilson said if it happens again and the fire spreads to the apartments, she is not sure if she can get all of the children outside safely.

“It just makes me scared to be here,” she said. ”Why? What benefit would you have of going and destroying other people’s property.”

Thursday morning, not long after the fires, Cynthia Avila said she opened the door of her SUV to find melted plastic and burned car seat.

The fire inside didn’t spread.

“It’s crazy,” she said.

That same night someone set paper on fire in her brother's car, but it went out without damage.

She said police told them the fires were intentionally set and dusted the vehicles for prints.

“We are going to go ahead and put cameras, surveillance cameras on the house,” Avila said.

Fire officials said it’s hard to say for sure whether the fires are connected without knowing who did it, but they are working to find out.