Arson investigations underway after 5 fires in Lake County, authorities say

Unknown if fires are connected

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Arson investigations are underway after five fires were reported in Lake County during a 48-hour period, according to Lake County Fire Rescue.

Officials said the fires occurred in the North Lake County area since Saturday. The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating all five incidents, although it's unknown if they are related.

One of the fires occured around 5:30 a.m. Monday at a 3,000 square-foot residence on Wilson Parrish Road. An occupant got out safely and firefighters were able to save about 60 percent of the home. 

Officials said nearby vehicles and a pole barn, all located within the city limits of Umatilla, also caught fire around the same time the house did.

A fire at Old Crow BBQ is also under investigation as a possible arson. The restaurant did not sustain significant damage. Another one of the fires that is under investigation occurred at 685 Saltsdale Drive.

Alfred Simmons stands next to his burned 1986 Toyota 4Runner.

Alfred Simmons said he woke up around 5 a.m. Sunday to find his 1986 Toyota 4Runner on fire outside his home on East Cemetary Road. Authorities have not said if that fire is among the five being investigated as a possible arson.

"My animals start going off, barking. I woke up and the whole front of the yard is lit up, I thought there would be deputies out here looking for somebdoy," Simmons said. "I get up and my vehicle is burning to the ground."

Simmons said that investigators asked him if he had any enemies and they also said that there had been multiple fires in the area.

"I hope they do catch him," Simmons said.

Check back for more updates on this developing story.