A series of small grass fires deliberately set in a west Tulsa neighborhood have fire investigators and neighbors working to identify the arsonist before a tragedy occurs.
Tulsa Fire Investigator Capt. Scott Winford was in that neighborhood Monday after a another fire call came in to 911, though in this particular case it appeared to be unrelated to the series of arsons.
He was not alone; Tulsa County deputies had also responded, as they're familiar with the problem in the area and had hoped to get more information about the arsonist.
Capt. Winford confirmed to KRMG on the scene that the department had dealt with a number of grassfires which he described as deliberately set.
"There have been probably been close to a dozen over the past several weeks," he said. "This is actually outside our fire investigators' jurisdiction, it's out of city, but because our fire trucks respond here we've been called several times."
He told KRMG it's a "strong possibility" that the suspect is a juvenile.
One neighbor told KRMG the fires occur even more often, indeed almost daily. They don't always elicit a fire department response, because -- as in the case of a fire that was set in his yard -- the homeowners themselves get them out fairly quickly.
Even then, as can be seen in the photo accompanying this story, the fire was very close to a home, something that's occurring more often.
"The most recent one was right next to her house," he told KRMG, indicating a neighbor's home. "Mine was right next to my house, too."
The concern among the investigators and the neighbors alike is that one of those small fires could grow rapidly, and end up destroying someone's home, or possibly killing someone.
The fires have been set all hours of the day or night, including a recent incident that occurred at 1:00 a.m., the neighbor told KRMG.
"You've just got to catch them," the neighbor said. "You've just got to see them doing it, and that's gonna be hard to do."