Officials Investigate Arkansas Co. Annex Fire as Arson

Ar Local

STUTTGART, AR–Fire officials are officially investigating a fire that destroyed the Arkansas County annex as arson.
Investigators say they discovered new evidence, new witnesses and surveillance video that prove the September 23rd fire was the work of an arsonist.

Sheriff Allen Cheek says flames destroyed most of his office’s equipment including cameras and fingerprint kits used to collect evidence at crime scenes.

“It’s kind of like losing your home it’s just an empty feeling,” he says.

The fire forced the offices of emergency management, assessor and county judge and 911 to move into the courthouse basement.

Two days into salvaging and replacing vital equipment, Sheriff Cheek says he was notified of new findings, “They said sheriff this is arson.”

“It not only put people in danger who went to fight the fire but they shut down the nerve center of our communications center,” says Lt. Mike Rowe, Stuttgart Fire Marshal.

Lt. Rowe says he’s working several leads and the sheriff has his own theory.

“It’s a gut feeling now I gotta prove it,” says Sheriff Cheek.

He won’t release a name or a motive but he did make a promise to the arsonist.

“I’m coming after you I’m not going to give up,” says Sheriff Cheek.

The building and its contents were insured for 2.5 million dollars. Stuttgart fire officials are working with Arkansas State Police and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearm investigators.

If you have information on this crime contact the ATF field office in Little Rock at 501-324-6457.

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