Serial arsonist could be setting fires in Polk County community, officials say

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) – Investigators in Polk County are turning to the public for information after they say 14 fires were intentionally set in the Eloise area of Winter Haven.

Map of fires.

Investigators say the string of arsons began in July 2017.

According to the State Fire Marshal’s office, some of the fires could be the work of a serial arsonist but not all.

They say the homes were abandoned or had the appearance of being abandoned and were uninhabited at the time.

The locations affected are all off of Snively Avenue within a mile radius between US-17 and 9th Street.

David Cooper, a property manager of one of the properties on 8th Street, says a trailer caught fire on Dec. 17 and another was set on fire the next day on 9th Street.

He says the community is made up of mostly low-income families who cannot afford to take a significant loss.

Many in the community are hoping the fires are stopped so they can return to their normal lives without living in fear of who could be next.

The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations and Polk County Sheriff’s Office are asking anyone with information to contact Heartland Crime Stoppers. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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