Crime

Reward offered after rash of fires in Pulaski and Lincoln counties

An insurance company is offering a reward of up to $20,000 in an investigation of suspected arsons at a large lumber business in southern Lincoln County.

Fires at East Anderson Hardwoods on Dec. 20 and on Monday destroyed two warehouses and caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage, according to authorities and a company official.

The company is near the small community of Eubank, where recent suspicious fires destroyed a historic school building and an unoccupied house the owner was remodeling.

The fires have caused concern that there is a serial arsonist targeting the area.

"They're pretty upset and worried about it," Norman Rutherford, chief of the Eubank Volunteer Fire Department, said of local residents.

None of the buildings that burned was occupied, Rutherford said.

Most of the fires happened between 3 and 4 a.m., authorities said.

Eubank is in northern Pulaski County. An adjoining section of Lincoln County also has a Eubank address.

That's where East Anderson Hardwoods is. The company processes logs and dries the lumber to create products for the furniture industry, cabinet makers and other uses.

Lowery Anderson, co-owner and manager, said the fires have caused a logistical headache because they destroyed so much of the company's space to store lumber.

Workers have had to haul lumber to the company's facility in Monroe County, adding to costs, he said.

State police, who are investigating the two fires, announced Wednesday that East Anderson's insurer had offered a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the fires. The Kentucky Arson Task Force is offering a $1,000 reward, according to state police.

Rutherford said someone set small fires three times in December at the old Eubank High School building before a Dec. 30 blaze gutted the structure.

The building had not been used as a high school since the mid-1980s, but had been a landmark in the small town since the 1920s.

Anyone with information on the fires at East Anderson may call state police at (859) 623-2404 or the state arson task force at 1-800-272-7766.

The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office and Somerset Fire Department are investigating the fire at the former Eubank High School. Anyone with information on that fire may call the sheriff's office at (606) 678-5145. People also may leave anonymous tips at Pulaskisheriff.com.

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