Tips sought in spate of suspected arson fires

LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett County Fire Department officials are seeking public tips in a spate of arson fires, the most recent crimes including a blaze at a Lilburn medical clinic and a Buford car fire.

Fire Department spokesman Lt. Colin Rhoden said there’s no indication that any of the fires are connected. All have recently been confirmed as acts of arson, he said. No injuries were reported.

About 9 a.m. Friday, firefighters responded to a 911 call at Georgia Medical Center in the 3900 block of Lawrenceville Highway in Lilburn, near Pleasant Hill Road. The caller had arrived at the office that morning to find the building filled with smoke, but no flames.

Rhoden said firefighters found a broken window with fire damage to the interior but with no extension past the receptionist office.

Investigators determined the cause was arson and viewed surveillance footage showing that damaged occurred very early Friday morning, Rhoden said.

Georgia Medical Center, an urgent family care center, provides treatment for a wide range of injuries, in addition to drug testing and women’s care, according to an online business description.

About 1/3 of a mile away on May 20, an arsonist set fire to Atlanta GYN-OB, P.C., causing extensive interior damage. Investigators found an “incendiary substance,” officials said.

FBI Atlanta is investigating that fire and one that could be connected at Alpha Group GYN, Abortion Services and Counseling in Marietta, which happened four days later.

That fire was in addition to reports of a car fire in Buford early Tuesday morning.

Firefighters were called to the driveway of a home on the 2900 block of Trailing Ivy Way at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, after a neighbor was awakened by a car horn. Crews discovered a black Ford F-150 pickup truck engulfed in flames.

The flames were quickly extinguished, Rhoden said. Investigators reviewed surveillance video and identified a dark-skinned male exiting a four-door sedan driven by a second unknown individual.

The male broke the passenger window of the truck and “then threw something that he ignited into the vehicle,” Rhoden said.

Also on Tuesday, fire officials asked for public tips in two house fires last month that have recently been confirmed as arson.

• Evidence gathered since a June 22 fire in the 5100 block of Vivid Drive in Stone Mountain lead investigators to believe it was intentionally set, Rhoden said.

Dispatched at 8 a.m. that day, fire crews found the home well involved with smoke and fire, which caused heavy damage to the home’s interior. No one was home at the time, and no injuries were reported.

A woman who was displaced by the damages returned home as firefighters were on scene. Fire officials previously said neighbors provided information that the fire could have been arson.

• Five days later in Loganville, a late-night arson fire destroyed a foreclosed home in 2400 block of Range Heights Terrace. Officials have determined the cause was arson; witness statements and circumstances surrounding the fire helped form that conclusion, Rhoden said.

Another foreclosed home in that neighborhood was burned to the ground a few days after that, officials said.

Investigators ask anyone with information to contact the Gwinnett Fire Arson and Explosives Investigation Section at 678-518-4890 or the Georgia Arson Control Hotline at 1-800-282-5804.

Georgia Arson Control Inc. offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of arsonists.

— Staff Writer Tyler Estep contributed to this article