ORLANDO, Fla. - After a string of suspicious fires across three central Florida counties, fire and police departments are now working together to catch an arsonist with the creation of an arson task force.
Firefighters have learned new details about these fires, including the similarities among them. All of the fires were in older, abandoned homes or buildings, were started overnight on weekends, and many were started in crawl spaces of the homes.
When Philip Foster saw smoke at the vacant house next door to his Orlando home in the Colonialtown North neighborhood, firefighters were already there, and that's what surprised him the most.
"I would have thought I would have smelled smoke or something. The  call came in at 11:16 p.m. It just doesn't make sense," said Foster, who said he was the only immediate neighbor outside during the time the 911 call was made. "I'd love to know who called 911."
That's the same question from Katia Porro. Firefighters were called to the vacant house next door, where the fire appeared to be contained inside.
"It terrifies me because I don't want my house to burn down, or one right next door to mine. It's less than 50 feet away from my house. I don't know how nobody knows about it," said Porro. "An arsonist running around town, it's ridiculous."
Since April, firefighters said they have investigated 16 possible arsons in Orlando, 10 in Sanford and three in Daytona Beach.
Now, fire and police departments across central Florida plan to go after the firebug every way they can, and they want to talk to Steven Angle, 40, who they said may have answers about fires in Sanford.
The newly-created arson task force will share information among agencies, gathering tips that might lead to an arrest. Until then, neighbors plan to do what they can.
"It's very concerning," said Foster. "I put precautions up. I'm thinking about putting some cameras up as well."
"Everyone in the neighborhood needs to be aware and keep their eyes out because it needs to stop," said Porro.
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