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Officials: Fire destroys 3 city-owned historic houses

June 5, 2022 GMT

MORROW, Ga. (AP) — Arson has destroyed three adjacent historic homes owned by a city near Atlanta, officials said.

Mayor John Lampl wept as he looked over the wreckage in Morrow on Saturday evening, WXIA-TV reported.

“What leads the investigators right now to believe that these fires were intentionally set is the intensity and speed with which the fire burned,” Interim Police Chief David Snively told the station.

The city of Morrow is offering up to $10,000 to anyone with information that leads to an arrest, news outlets reported.

“The loss of these beautiful, historic homes at the heart of our city is a cruel blow to the residents and community members who utilize this area,” Lampl said.

The buildings included one on the National Register of Historic Places, City Manager Jeff Baker told WXIA. That one’s the Greek Revival building called the Napier-Small house, which was built in 1846.

“This is a devastating setback just as we’ve begun to turn the corner and fill the long-vacant spaces at The District; and it is an especially tragic loss of history,” Baker said.

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People were in one of the houses around 8:45 p.m. Friday night, and the fire was visible by midnight, officials said.

Police are asking for calls from anyone who saw people around then in The District, a city-owned community space in Morrow, WSB-TV reported.

The city plans to rebuild the houses, Lampl told WXIA.