Officials: Investigators Making Good Progress in Serial Arsonist Case

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

It's been two months since the Grand Valley has heard from the suspected serial arsonist who authorities say is responsible for starting 17 fires in the downtown Grand Junction area. While authorities say that's a good thing, they add the search is still on and the trail may be getting warmer.

"We're still in the process of dealing with it," said Ian McGill, an arson victim. "Yesterday we just had our garage demolished."

Ian McGill spends his Friday looking through the things he was able to salvage and looking at the things that will soon be taken to the Mesa County landfill. In the early hours of May 25, 2008 his garage was one of four set on fire -- an attack authorities attribute to a serial arsonist.

McGill says now, even two months later, he and his family still feel vulnerable.

"Every once in a while we still think we're smelling smoke and we have to wake up and look around," said McGill.

But he says there is some relief in the fact that no suspicious fires have been reported since May 31.

"Knowing that there hasn't been any other attacks gives us comfort," said McGill.

Authorities say the arson task force continues to follow leads and is still in pursuit of the serial arsonist, or arsonists.

"That investigation has led us to believe that there may be more than one person involved in that process," said Mike Page, spokesman for the Grand Junction Fire Department.

In June, police arrested a man who they thought was seen in surveillance video lighting a home in the 1200 block of Grand Avenue on fire. But after verifying an alibi, it was determined that was not the case and the suspect was set free.

Authorities say since that time, new leads have pushed investigators in promising new directions.

"We have several other people that we've taken a good, long look at," said Page. "Hopefully we can gather the information to make that step."

Page says an arrest could be coming sooner than later.

"The feeling I get from the little communication I have with investigators is that they're making progress on that," said Page.

Good news for the arsonist's victims who say in spite of the two month hiatus, they're ready for the case to be closed for good.

"It's still difficult, but life has to go on too," said McGill.

Officials say if you have information about any of the suspicious fires that took place from January to May, you can call the anonymous Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (970) 241-STOP.

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