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Reward offered for arson tip

A house on Lumsden Road has seen set on fire twice, and investigators are offering $2,500 for information.

JANET ZINK
Published July 4, 2003

County officials want to know who burned down a house at 811 E Lumsden Road just west of Lithia-Pinecrest Road - twice.

Signs posted by Hillsborough County Fire Rescue near the remains of the structure announce that a $2,500 reward is available to anyone with information on the fire.

Firefighters were first called to the property at 8 p.m. March 8. The blaze was extinguished and most of the 2,500-square-foot home, built in 1925, was still standing.

A second fire April 3 at 2:50 a.m. brought the house down.

Officials determined that both fires were deliberately set but, citing an ongoing investigation, refused to release details about where and how the fires were started.

They hope the signs will lead to the arrest of those responsible for the fires.

"We post those signs where we think they might do well to bring out information from the community," said David Tucker who investigates fires for the Hillsborough County Fire Marshal.

This location, because it's a high-traffic area, made it a prime candidate for the signs.

The reward is being offered through the Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention, a group of federal and state agencies and private corporations founded in 1975 to fight arson.

"They actually do return positive results," Tucker said of the postings.

Investigators believe that someone was living illegally in the house, Tucker said. So far, the fire marshal has received one call in response to the signs at the Lumsden property.

According to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser, Gateway Victory Inc., purchased the property for $150,000 in 2000. Gateway has owned the three properties to the east of the parcel since 1989. Calls to Gateway directors were referred to the Bullard Group, a property management company. No one at Bullard was available for comment.

Anyone with information on the fire should call 744-5541 or toll-free 1-(877) 662-7766.

- Janet Zink can be reached at 661-2441 or jzink@sptimes.com

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