Bridge Arsonist at Work in White County

JULY 14, 2004 - Posted at 7:55 a.m. CDT

SEARCY, AR - Someone has been setting fire to bridges in White County.

County Judge Bob Parish promises jail time when the culprit is caught.

Road department director K.W. Billings says that there have been five bridge arsons over the past four years.  Billings says the arsonist soaks the bridge in deisel, sometimes using a tire to help get the flames going.

At one bridge, Billings says he can still smell the diesel.  He says it appears the arsonist used five gallons of fuel on that bridge.

White County has between 400 to 500 bridges and Billings says he doesn't have the workers to watch all of them.

Parish says the county has fewer than 20 deputies, not enough to carpet the county to prevent another arson.  A reward has doubled to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction, and Parish is asking for the public's help.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)