Two Individuals Questioned for Five Anna Gray Fires


By Loreto Cruz III

WEST FRANKFORT-- West Frankfort Police have identified persons of interest in the arson cases.

Emergency crews were called to the Anna Gray High Rise on Route 149 five times, Saturday alone. Investigators say two mentally-handicapped men were questioned in the crimes, but neither were charged. 

Officials say there were three fires in the trash chute, all within a matter of hours. Housing authority workers locked the chutes, but fires were later found burning in the building's stairwell and laundry room.

Fire Captain Ron Rains was at the high rise until after midnight Friday, and says the situation could have been much worse.

"Once we got the trash chutes taken care of," Captain Rains explained, "we were worried that it wouldn't be enough to stop them. Whether there was a motive, or they just wanted the fire department to show up it, could have led to a real issue for the people in the building. This could have been a really bad day for all of us."
Police Chief Shawn Talluto says there haven't been any fires since they questioned those persons of interest. The housing authority may close the chute to residents permanently.


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